Posts in Alcohol Marketing


Booze Views: What next for alcohol’s great acquisition dream?

March 18th, 2019 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Beer 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: What next for alcohol’s great acquisition dream?”

Start a business, sell out, cash in, retire to the South of France and spend your days dabbling in viticulture. It’s the capitalist dream and the entire raison d’etre for many a brand. Well, if you’re a booze brand, maybe not the last one – bit of a busman’s holiday.

But more than in many industries (with the notable exception of tech and its many subsectors), mergers and acquisitions have come to exercise a massive influence on alcohol (say what you like about banking stereotypes; the inverse is almost certainly true too…).


Head-turning acquisitions are de rigueur in the drinks business; investors follow M&A activity in the industry with a keenness matched only by the kind of blog-following wag to whom the chance to bitch about the sacrilege of a craft brand selling out is infinitely more precious than share price.

Over the past decade or so, the business of selling out has been a curiously consistent trend – particularly in craft beer, as corporates have rushed to get their hands on a piece of the sexy, shiny craft pie.

Most of the these deals have been wildly unsurprising. Not that that’s stopped craft hipsters going apoplectic at the mere rumour of VC or Big Brewery money getting within a disused railway arch of their favourite brewery (see: Beavertown). Heaven forbid that their toil should go financially rewarded. But this was always going to happen. I imagine that anyone who saw BrewDog drive a tank down Shoreditch High Street and believed they were doing it Cos They’re Just Big Characters watched on and congratulated themselves for also saving the lives of so many fairies with their applause.

📸- The Business Insider

I digress; the point is the predictability of the recent craft gold rush. An exciting new market segment, initially dominated by plucky independents making quality product. There was never a chance that craft would remain out of the reach of big money. And what I’m really getting at is that that rush also has a natural limit. And that prompts me to ask: whither M&A in 2019?


Last year still saw a fair few significant deals. Fourpure realised the craft dream and got bought out (note the distinction from sold out) in a joint acquisition deal apparently aimed at conquering APAC. Diageo did some more distillery-gobbling, while the biggest deal worldwide was in Southeast Asia, where ThaiBev completed a whopping takeover of Vietnamese brewery Sabeco in a deal that went relatively under the radar in Europe. Perhaps less expectedly, a French co-op bought out Aston Manor, whose portfolio includes Frosty Jack’s – although I’m not holding my breath for a Stella-style cidre rebrand).

📸- Sky News

But, while 2018 had its share of Big Deals, for pundits like me at least, the big one for 2019 has probably already happened. I am, of course, referring to the buyout of Fuller’s brewing business by Asahi. Comparisons to Young’s abound, but there was a sense of finality with this one that’s not quite been apparent with the buyout of other independents.

For the most part, the theme has been simple diversification. Asahi’s acquisition of Meantime Brewing in 2016 filled an obvious craft gap in the business’s portfolio. The buyout of Fuller’s and Dark Star is an obvious extension of that, spreading Asahi’s reach around the UK both at the bar and on supermarket shelves. The megabreweries seem to have made their move; AB InBev got in there early when it acquired Goose Island in 2011 and has now cemented it as a go-to not-a-lager keg option all over the UK. When SIBA talks about multinationals misappropriating the craft label, you know the brands they’re talking about.


But the Fuller’s acquisition is different. To me it feels like a settling of the recent frenzy that’s characterised M&A in the alcohol industry, both in the UK and internationally. The megacorps each have their flagship brands to guarantee a crafty-looking presence on the bar.

In the UK, at least, it might just signal the end of the great craft gold rush. And I think there are a few benefits to that. Firstly, it’s more likely to leave brewers focused on the business of brewing great beer in a marketplace that’s characterised more by craft values than clamour around selling out. Secondly it leaves the industry once more in search of the next big thing. Not pink gin. Really big thing. That’s quite exciting – and M&A activity through the rest of 2019 is likely to point it out.



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

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How Has Pub Marketing Changed?

February 26th, 2019 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “How Has Pub Marketing Changed?”

Original article written by Emma Eversham, published in The Morning Advertiser on 15th of February 2019. Please follow the link in the right hand panel under industry news titled, “How Has Pub Marketing Changed?” for the original.

There are so many rules around advertising now, be them from the Advertising Standards Authority or the Portman Group. Here we highlight some of the defining moments in marketing and advertising and look at how regulation and legislation has changed the way drinks brands and pubs market their products and services. This spring, the sixth edition of the Portman Group’s code of practice will be published, with some additional guidelines to address areas such as sexism in marketing and implications that alcohol can improve mood, expected to be included.

Introduced in 1996 to ensure alcohol is named, packaged and promoted responsibly, the code has drawn its critics from some parts of the industry, who have found it overly restrictive, while others outside the industry believe that its regulatory, rather than compulsory nature, does not go far enough in tackling problems associated with alcohol. Alongside the Portman Group’s code of practice are the Advertising Standards Authority’s [ASA) Committee of Advertising Practice [CAP) code and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice code giving specific guidance on how alcohol can be marketed and advertised through any form of communication to consumers- from a full page advert in a glossy magazine to a 60-second ad on TV.

Since these codes were introduced, the advertising and marketing landscape for anyone involved in the sale of alcohol has dramatically altered. The list suggesting what you cannot say, or even imply when promoting a bottle of booze is a long one, and navigating the guidance can seem like yet another burden on an already struggling industry, although it is generally accepted that this has helped stimulate creativity.


Image by Erik_Lucatero on Pixabay

Nevertheless, for many like Jim Shearer, marketing and consumer excellence director at Molson Coors Brewing Company, adhering to codes are simply part of the territory if you’re involved in selling alcoholic beverages.

“We believe in the responsible marketing of alcohol to adults and embrace the Portman Group and ASA codes, as well as the global alcohol industry Digital Guiding Principles and our own commercial code,” he says. “We don’t see them as restrictions as such – just a part of the way we do business.”

Dan Hooper, director of client services at alcohol marketing agency YesMore, has worked with both alcohol brands and the Portman Group. Like Shearer, he regards the regulations as a framework for brands to work within and, importantly, an attempt at addressing societal problems such as underage, or binge drinking.

“The Portman Group and the ASA aren’t here to ruin everyone’s good time, they are literally trying to do a good job of influencing a healthy drinking culture in the UK,” he says. “I don’t ever think they’re trying to ruin anyone’s brand or water down anything they’re trying to do. I think people just need to potentially think things through. There’s a way of being cheeky and funny and witty without having to resort to non-approved language.”

It is this last point that rings true with many involved in drinks marketing. Regulation hasn’t necessarily meant restriction and in some ways has led drinks brands and pubs to seek-out creative ways to get their brand or business noticed.


Indeed, the trade had embraced the Portman Group’s code of practice so well that by 2010, only five complaints regarding irresponsible alcohol advertising were mace to the watchdog, with just two upheld by the group’s independent panel. Molson Coors’ Shearer believes the ‘digital revolution’ enabled the industry to become creative in its marketing approach once again because age restrictions meant promotions could directly target the over-18s.

“The rise of social media and video on-demand over the past decade or so has made it easier for drinks producers to market specifically to an over-18s audience, he says. “That ability to be so tailored has allowed the industry to fully embrace the regulations, while reaching an adult consumer in a creative and engaging way.”

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Hooper believes the arrival of social media was the real defining moment in marketing for pubs because it suddenly gave them an easy access route to people outside their doors. “Before social media, a pub didn’t have too many ways of having its voice heard. If it wanted to advertise a certain drink it stocked, a themed night or a drinks promotion, other than spending a lot on a print campaign, there wasn’t any way they could reach thousands,” he says. “The advent of social media really changed what they could do and what they said. Even if you were the smallest pub in London and had a zero budget, the advent of social media meant that suddenly you had a voice and could reach people all over.”

“It’s the culture that has shifted the use of the pub, not Portman or the ASA,”


YesMore Client Services Director, Daniel Hooper


As Hooper points out, however, the new social media frontier was a little like the Wild West when it was first introduced, leaving pubs and drinks brands free to share content that would not comply with the ASA’s or Portman’s guidelines if it had been on TV or in print “When it arrived, the ASA were sort of looking away, .. he continues. ‘”I liken it to a house party when the parents weren’t around”. The ASA and Portman Group soon returned home, however, and set some new ground rules. In 2009, the Portman Group published its guide The Responsible Marketing of Alcoholic Drinks in Digital Media, advising companies how to stay within its and the CAP’s codes, meaning social media would be subjected to the same guidelines as those for other media.

Having strict rules on drinks marketing across all platforms hasn’t helped with the fact that pubs are struggling to attract customers and are closing at the rate of 18 a week according to the latest figures from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Nevertheless, those who work in advertising and marketing don’t believe that the rules and regulations enforced by the Portman Group or the ASA are to blame for pub closures.

Image by Christian_Birkholz on Pixabay

“It’s the culture that has shifted the use of the pub, not Portman or the ASA,” says Hooper. “When I talk to my dad, who’s in his 60s, about what the pub was like then, he describes it as a very different place to how I know it now and it was different for his father, so it’s something that shifts generationally. Culturally, people aren’t going down the pub as much as they were and just aren’t drinking the same amount of alcohol. Taxes have made drinks less affordable too, so it’s not marketing as such, it’s that the way the pub is used that has changed.”


Airbnb could have been just another accommodation provider but it remained true to the value it adds and positioned itself as a service that will allow people to really know what it feels like to live in their holiday destination.

Pubs similarly need to redefine their role in society and return to being a much-needed force for good that brings people together.


Amit Patel, lead strategist at TBWA London

According to stats from Red Brick Research, almost a quarter of Generation Z (those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s) identify as teetotal and 70% regard binge drinking as ‘very risky’. Therefore, marketing campaigns with alcohol at their centre may not be the best way to go.

“When I’m speaking to Generation Z, they are genuinely not interested in alcohol, they think getting drunk is stupid, unhealthy and looks embarrassing,” says Hooper.

Amit Patel, lead strategist at TBWA London, which has created advertising campaigns for Pernod Ricard brands for more than 25 years, believes we are currently at a ‘defining moment in pub marketing’ and challenges the industry to reposition itself to attract customers now and in the future.

“With 18 pubs a week closing in 2018, we desperately need a pivot that can address the pub’s declining relevance, particularly with younger generations,” he asserts. “To combat the fact that people are either staying at home where entertainment is at their fingertips – think: Netflix – or opting to spend time in different environments like casual dining, the great British pub needs to reposition itself as something more than just a boozer, they need to rethink what they are, and what they provide beyond drinks and a place to sit.”

Patel says the ‘key switch’ in marketing strategy to attract more customers lies in ‘transforming the customer experience’ rather than finding ways to make people drink more alcohol. He believes giving customers access to experiences they would not be able to get anywhere other than in the pub is one strategy and making it about a welcoming meeting space is another.

“Airbnb could have been just another accommodation provider but it remained true to the value it adds and positioned itself as a service that will allow people to really know what it feels like to live in their holiday destination,” he explains. “Pubs similarly need to redefine their role in society and return to being a much-needed force for good that brings people together.”


Ben Barton, business director at creative agency Space, agrees, while also suggesting that pubs learn from the tobacco industry, which is no longer permitted to communicate directly with customers. Instead, many tobacco companies have developed retailer engagement programs to help switch existing adult smokers to their brands by converting retailers into brand advocates.

Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash

He says: “As legislation tightens and advertising becomes more restrictive, pubs must shift their focus and find new ways of influencing customers. There are a number of ways to do this – recently, for example, there’s been a growth in engagement between bar owners and outlet staff. With a high percentage of drinks choices being made at the point of purchase, the role of the bar staff is becoming more and more important in driving brand advocacy.”

Focusing more on brand recommendations and the unique experience a pub can provide, rather than making it about a place to drink, could not only help the pub sector’s future, but could also avoid further marketing and advertising regulations being introduced, or being subject to legislation, Barton believes. “Given the direction the UK market is heading, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to mirror countries like France and introduce something similar to ‘The Evin Law’ – where content of ads is restricted and only brand assets such as logos are allowed,” he says,
recommending that pub and drinks brands invest in ‘brand assets’ now to ensure messaging is clear should this happen.

“Before communication legislation tightens, [businesses] need to be imbued with the desired positioning and image that the brand wants to project, It’s also important to develop robust social and brand ambassador strategies to ensure a brand stays front of mind,” he concludes.

Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.

Photo by Wyron A

Booze Views: Not another 2019 trends article

January 30th, 2019 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: Not another 2019 trends article”

It’s crystal-ball-gazing time. What do you mean you’ve only read 28 Biggest trends to look out for in 2019 pieces throughout the month?! All touting blockchain, something influencery and some nonsense about artisan pisco? That’s nowhere your quota for January.

So just in the nick of time before January ends, strap in and come with me on a completely arbitrary journey through a set of predictions grounded roughly 20% in data and logic, 50% in my ad hoc reckoning and 30% in stuff you’ll find at least 119% more entertaining than every other one of these articles…


It’s the abbreviation (not acronym) beer marketers love to mess with. Last year it was all about NEIPA (‘N-E-I-P-A?’ ‘Neepa?’ Don’t waste your time.). But DIPA, RIPA, IIPA and BIPA (which has at least three potential meanings at last count) have all played their part in fostering that fuzzy warm feeling of putrid smugness among craft hipsters who bandy them around just desperately hoping you’ll betray your pathetic ignorance by asking what the letters stand for.

Know-it-all bashing aside, it’s the beer market trend that keeps on giving – the people want their IPA, and they want it different. This year will be no exception and there will be yet another year-defining sub-style. Brut was something of a slow burn last year and could see a mainstream boost that will push it to the forefront of 2019, but I’m still waiting to see what this year’s next-big-thing will be in the seemingly saturation-proof world of IPA.

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson


Brexit. Brexit Brexit Brexit. Good, now we’ve addressed that in sufficient depth we can move on. Seriously, it’s still anyone’s guess as to exactly what it’s going to mean for the drinks sector. But there will undoubtedly be a greater focus on home-produced booze, whether that’s simply media guff and publicity stunts rather than genuinely level-headed, reasoned and transparent business decisions (ahem).

The obvious spotlight contender is British wine, and I predict that many will be touting the sleeping giant that is the UK wine industry. An interesting post from online wine shop Vincarta puts this in context – according to the author, countries that produce more wine than the UK currently include Jordan and Malta. Malta is less than half the size of London. Though growth seems an entirely realistic prospect, the reality may not live up to the hype that I reckon is about to come.

Photo by Suda Guan


… roughly equivalent to that of a gerbil farting in the Mongolian tundra.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. But if you read enough trends articles you’ll be as sick of hearing about voice as I am. For the best part of two years it’s been second only to blockchain (pahahahaha) as marketing’s favourite white elephant. Let’s draw a line in the sand*: voice tech is great for menial home tasks and, for the vast majority, it’s basically a robot butler whose sole function is to change the radio station.

Where it could have a knock-on impact: increasing listener figures for DAB and streaming platforms could become more attractive for above-the-line spend. But with the attendant regulatory concerns, that’s unlikely to have a huge impact on booze.

*The nice thing about lines in the sand is they’re very easy to brush away…




What it says, really. I’ve written before about my thoughts on the marketing world’s youth obsession. And I certainly don’t claim to be a sole outlier in that respect – I wasn’t the first to call bullshit on the frequently black-and-white interpretations of Strauss-Howe, and I sense a genuine turning of the tide this year. If youngsters really are the straight-faced teetotallers they’re made out to be then the obvious money is on their boozehound parents. It’ll be interesting to see if marketing tactics do start to skew any older this year.

Here’s an image of some young people not drinking… POW!

Photo by Zachary Nelson


The primary driver will be pure faddism, but there are actually two other factors at play that I reckon make a solid case for this.

Firstly, the trend is also likely to be driven by the ever-increasing environmental awareness that everyone likes to attribute everything to. It’s simple: hops are very, very water-intensive to grow, and there’s growing media interest in that.

And lastly there’s brewing’s constant search for the Next Big Thing. Say what you like about the craft sector’s incessant pursuit of new flavours and trends, it’s created a climate where it’s incumbent on independent brewers to be continually rolling out new products. It’s what we’ve come to expect.

The starry-eyed may laud the spirit of constant exploration; cynics may call it a convenient way of avoiding market saturation. But if craft brewing has shown one thing over recent years, it’s that there’s a seemingly inexhaustible interest in and a market for new beer styles. But, frankly, brewers are running out of material.

Photo by Elevate

My prediction: a wave of hopless beers with a focus on Lithuanian kaimiskas. You read it here first.

Lithuanian farmhouse ales – huge in 2019…



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.

Booze Views: Why Dry January Can Be a Great Time for Alcohol Marketers

December 18th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Booze Views: Why Dry January Can Be a Great Time for Alcohol Marketers”


You’ve got Christmas sewn up – but what about the New Year? While the world at large is going about convincing itself that January is a time of new beginnings, new approaches and new mindsets (as opposed to excess-induced guilt, drudgery and seasonal affective disorder), it’s basically time for the drinks biz to sit on its hands, right?

Well, if that’s starting a little cynically for you, fear not – because this post is all about how Dry January can be a ray of winter sunshine in the alcohol marketer’s life (and vice versa, believe it or not).

There are any number of ways in which the issue is rather more complex than turkeys voting for Christmas; so here are just a few reasons why people not drinking booze can be a good thing for the alcohol industry (and how alcohol marketers can help)…


Ye could put a goldfish in that and it wouldn’t even die. – Mitchell and Webb


Reset, reconsider, refresh – that’s what we’re told January is all about. At least, that’s very possibly how your customers see it.

Of course, the traditional view of January is as a bit of downtime in live campaign activity so you can cook up the next few months. So may I suggest to…

…live in the now, man.

Follow the general public’s example and view it as a chance to reconsider your approach – whether that’s strategy, approach, values, messaging; your audience is probably more receptive to change than ever, so if you’re thinking about any kind of repositioning activity, the New Year could be the time.


The cliché surrounding Dry January is well-worn: a month of self-flagellating abstinence followed by an immediate spiral into excess and return to self-loathing that only hair of the dog will cure.

As with any cliché, there’s some truth to it, but, as I posited last month, the mindset it’s predicated on may be dwindling. The jury is still out on whether Dry January itself has long-term benefits, but the culture of excess that implies the big month’s necessity is losing its force.

Quality is increasingly trumping quantity in the booze market – and the conversation around Dry January 2019 is likely to reflect that. Keep close tabs on what’s being said and how Dry Jan plays out; it could give you some invaluable audience insights.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


With that in mind, the coming year, perhaps more than any before, is going to be about building sustainability into alcohol marketing strategies.

There are no two ways about it – 2019 is already showing some real promise at turning out to be an absolute shitter of a year. Sorry – didn’t quite leave the cynicism in paragraph 1. Well, it’s not Christmas yet.


Just to be absolutely clear, I do not mean ‘market your non-alcoholic beer’.

Actually get involved in Dry January. Take part in it. Talk about it. Create content about it. I have yet to see an alcohol brand really go all-in on Dry January. Now, that’s for the very obvious reason that it has immense potential to blow up in your face spectacularly.

As an alcohol brand, embracing Dry January is probably less sticking your neck out than it is building the guillotine in a very public place and handing the release mechanism to the nearest psychopath.

A crass marketing-led approach to embracing Dry January is, of course, doomed to fail in a way that would make Pepsi and Kendall Jenner look like Cannes Lion contenders. No one wants to be the brand that gets destroyed for trying to cash in on Dry January.

📷 – Teen Vogue

Don’t do that. Obviously.

Instead, be authentic. Actually care about it. Come up with some ways you can contribute by tackling head-on the problems that make Dry January such a big deal. Address their root causes. Naturally you need a very (and I mean very) well-thought-out comms plans in place to even think about getting involved, but it is doable. And if you do it right, by being a truly responsible alcohol brand with a positive message, your positivity will very likely come back at you in spades.


Elton John is bloody everywhere this November, so permit me a crude comparison between the circular nature of life that he brought our attention to in such glorious transatlantic pub singer fashion, and that of this very article. I am, of course, returning to the idea of re-positioning.

January is a time to rethink about what you stand for as a purveyor of booze. Sure, you could be the brand that’s there waiting eagerly at the saloon door to 1st February with a beer bong to slosh as much piss as you can down the gullets of the thirsty masses. But, in short, that’s not a great look. Dry January 2019 is only going to increase the volume and the breadth of the discussion around alcohol consumption, and the industry will do well to have ready answers and something sensible to say. Now’s the time to plan.



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.

Remote Working from a laptop overlooking a pool in California USA

Do More Work, Don’t Go Into the Office. Our Take On Remote Working.

December 10th, 2018 Posted by Life / Work Balance, Social Media 0 thoughts on “Do More Work, Don’t Go Into the Office. Our Take On Remote Working.”

“Remote working” – one of the buzz phrases of our decade. Some see it as the lazy millennial’s way to avoid “real” work, others see it as an innovative way to be more productive, efficient and deliver better quality work as a whole. Either way, as I write this article I’m remote working from the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank, overlooking the River Thames glistening in the morning sunlight. It’s a gorgeous day, I’m enjoying a great coffee and I’m surrounded by nervous-excited graduates, dressed up being admired by their proud families. It. Is. Buzzing. I am inspired.

Why am I here and not in an office like most other agencies? Because I chose to be. Why did I choose to be here?  So I could get more work done.

I just don’t work nearly as well in an office as I do elsewhere, on my own terms. When I need to knuckle down and get shit done, this is what I do. I get out of the office, away from actual distractions and into an environment like this. Remote working works for me.

I once said to a former employer: “Hey, what if we gave everyone in the company the option to work remotely once a month?” and was shut down completely without any real rationale or reason. When I suggested the same to another employer I was told “we can’t trust them to actually do any work” this surprised me entirely.  

I felt that if that was really the case then why did you hire these people? I wondered if the team would actually respect the employer more, and thus do more work, if they were given this option. Both times I had suggested the idea of remote working from a point of view to IMPROVE productivity for the business, not hinder it.

Sitting here now, I look around and see young people proudly taking selfies with their degrees and throwing their hats in the air for the perfect Boomerang (the social app, not the Aboriginal hunting implement) and thinking… how do these people want to work for their future employers? What do they demand for their lifestyle? How can I build my business to inspire them to deliver our clients more than the average agency?

There must be good reason why Shoreditch House looks more like a work space than a members club during the week, why WeWork, Spacious and Workshop Cafe are booming all over the world. Additionally, co-working spaces like Campfire have proven (to us at least) to go out of their way to help businesses like ours, with teams that you could go for a beer with after work.

We were one of the first companies to sign up for Spacious in Brooklyn, we’ve both witnessed it growing from strength to strength. There is a huge market for a flexible, affordable place to work, to share ideas and to drink coffee. Shouldn’t have to cost the equivalent of your rent in order to get this experience.

Even Slack the MSN style comms tool is so integral to companies around the world now – and both our Carluccio’s and Regal Rogue clients have rolled out Slack across their businesses thanks in part to our advice. Many businesses can struggle with closed minded perceptions of how things are done. But why can’t we go against the grain if the end result is better?

So far, YesMore Agency is only 13 months old (at the time of writing this). We helped grow results for 13 clients and we’ve had 10 staff work at YesMore – all without ever being in the same room. We’ve had our team working as they would in an office but on their own terms from London, New York, Ireland, California, Brighton, Hawaii, Scotland, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Spain, Poland and more.

Dan, my business partner, lives in Brooklyn New York whilst I live in East London – we speak every day (and collaborate seamlessly) whilst only actually having worked in the same room for 9 working days so far in the business. We just don’t need to. In fact, we’re more productive when we don’t.

Not sure about you but this doesn’t inspire much in us

We’ve hired people with a work ethic like ours, we trust everyone to deliver on the promises they make and we all communicate instinctively. And when people don’t pull their weight you actually notice it more in the drop on deliverables, whilst in an office you can whittle hours away hiding hungover behind your screen.

As a result, all of our clients are happy. I believe that’s down to us and our team being allowed (encouraged even) to work in more productive environments. Above all else enabling us to continue being passionate and dedicated to both our work and our lives.

Dan and I are discussing how this will manifest itself in the future. We’ve got a good idea of our direction but will always have questions… Will we always allow our teams to work remotely? What problems could we encounter? What do our clients think? Do we tell our clients? Will people’s perceptions hold us back? What is the future of the service agency? Do people want to commute to an uninspiring environment? Can our team work from our client’s spaces for added creativity?

“Great ideas start out as polarising, they either really tug on someone’s emotions or they really perturb them in some way” – Joe Gebbia, Airbnb

When we talk about this way of working it’s already becoming very clear that some people LOVE it. At the same time some people think we’re idiots. Exciting. So re-listening to the How I Built This podcast interview with Joe Gebbia, founder of Airbnb, this morning I’m inspired to see what YOU think too.

What’s your point of view on building an agency around flexible and remote working?

Be brutal if you want, we’re thick skinned and love the challenge of both criticism and belief.

Thanks to Southbank Centre for the wifi and view of the river Thames. I’m now going downstairs for a quick skate and a sandwich in the sun before getting back onto work after lunch refreshed.

Hope you enjoyed the read. For more opinion, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol marketing sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ email, takes just 25 second read each month and arms you with fascinating stories.

If working with us sounds fun, email Or if you’d like to hire our excellent team just say hello –

woman holding sparkler on the beach

Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #014 – December

November 29th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #014 – December”

This post first appeared as an email newsletter to our subscribers, who receive 5 top stories from the world of Alcohol Marketing each month – subscribe here to get it in your inbox each month. Your December digest of the latest and greatest from the world of alcohol marketing, by the team at YesMore Agency.

Merry Christmas from YesMore Agency!




Play a track on your phone. Open up @BacardiUSA on mobile. Then press and hold on their latest 12 posts to drop sound effects into your listening experience. Very clever way to use the platform and will likely grow their audience, too. More on FAB News.





Brooklyn Craft Spirits Fest: 1st Dec
#BrooklynCraftSpiritsFest // $15 – $70

Seedlip Pop Up Gift Shop: til 8th Dec
@SeedlipDrinks // 10am-7pm // FREE

Brewgooder is Crowdfunding:
Fund, get beer & fix wells in Malawi!
@BrewGooder // #DrinkBeerGiveWater
~ Ends 10th Dec! ~




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Image of homeless person sleeping under street art that reads "you are going to be fine"

Drink Responsibly & Mindfully: Joining The Boos Aimed At The Booze Companies

November 6th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Life / Work Balance 0 thoughts on “Drink Responsibly & Mindfully: Joining The Boos Aimed At The Booze Companies”


This article was originally written and published in the November 2018 issue of River Tribe magazine. Read it in their online edition here.


I  have worked in the advertising industry for many years now going back to the early eighties.

I have worked for drink companies to help them promote their products and yes, letting the good times roll was usually the overarching theme.

With beer, we would always have to include a male bonding scene in a commercial to show that camaraderie drinking together invokes. The great Guinness ‘Surfer’ commercial depicted it as the surfers, having ridden the wave of white horses, celebrating with a joyful roll around on the beach.

Guinness - Surfer (1999, UK)

Guinness – Surfer (1999, UK)

Spirits were a step up in terms of maturing tastes and discernment. Tradition and craft crept in to show you as a person of style and impeccable taste.

Forgotten was the image of Gin Lane, where Londoners got so rat-arsed they dropped their babies whilst breastfeeding. Gin became the height of sophistication, as advertised to a track by The Human League that accompanied a film of cascading bubbles, bouncing cubes of ice and lemons being sliced in a surreal limbo setting. I have those images and that tune seared into my memory from seeing it multiple times at the cinema.

A proliferation of drinks from around the world brought exotic concoctions into our public houses, our globe shaped cocktail cabinets at home and PVC leather studded bars that appeared in the corners of our living rooms.

I chuckle when I think how Cinzano was advertised with the late, great Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins. I cringed as a cool muscle bound black dude backed up a timid punter who entered a bar asking for a Babycham bringing the music and bar ambience to an abrupt halt. ‘I’ll have a Babycham’ boomed the cool dude in his deep baritone voice, creating an ‘I’m Spartacus’ moment. Everybody followed his lead and the party was back on.

Babycham – I’d Love A Babycham – (1986) UK Advert

The drinks companies wanted that bar-call in their advertising leading to brand names entering the lexicon of abbreviated requests, hence the term JD & Coke.

Even though rules and regulations on alcohol marketing have become very restricting, drinks companies have become savvy about getting around these codes of conduct to keep their massive profits rolling in.

We live in a culture that has always embraced alcohol as a way to enhance our leisure time, consolidate our victories and toast our triumphs. That has been drummed into us by clever marketeers. Being puritanical and condemning the evils of the demon drink has been proved to backfire dramatically in the past. 

We only have to see what happened during prohibition in the States to understand that banning drinking only drives it underground to be exploited by the black market.

So education and information was the only way forward which is why the government created the COI to keep us all on the straight and narrow with some sage advice.

I was in charge of the ‘Think!’ anti drink drive campaign amongst others, trying to deter young men from getting behind the wheel of their cars, even after as few as two pints.

This was put out on TV, radio and online to the audience who were most likely to offend at Christmas and the summer months, but were also the easiest to influence before the habit of drink driving became ingrained.

Think! Anti Drink Driving

Even drinks companies have run their own drink drive messages as part of their CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Drink Responsibly also comes direct from the booze companies, but only goes as far as to warn about number of units and not ruining an evening by having one too many.

What has never been on the agenda, is offering practical help and effective coping mechanisms for people suffering from mental health conditions.

Solus drinking is never something the drinks companies have proffered up, as it’s not an attractive image. It is however a stark reality for many people dealing with stress, loneliness and mental trauma.

Are drink companies pumping any of their vast profits into curtailing that side of things? Oh no, as that would entail taking responsibility and that they can never hold their hands up to any culpability in that regard.

However, it seems millennials are beginning to wake up and smell the alcohol and rejecting the lifestyle booze companies have been showing us through their rose tinted glasses. 

Recent statistics show over a third of under 25’s don’t drink and a third of 16- to 24-year-olds have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months. This increase in mental health issues is driving a different attitude towards drinking within the young and taking the allure off believing drinking equals a good time for all.

Frequent drinking among young adults 2005 – 2013 from the Office For National Statistics

One such millennial is Tom Harvey, a local entrepreneur who grew up in Twickenham. Tom has co-founded a company called YesMore, which is an alcohol marketing agency that assists brands to promote themselves and grow their businesses, but in a fully responsible way.

He does this with a clear conscience as his business aims to reduce alcohol abuse with better marketing, where the dangers drink poses to mental health sufferers aren’t swept under the sticky pub carpet.

Tom doesn’t see alcohol as the enemy, but within his remit at YesMore, wants to recognise that poor mental health can lead to alcohol abuse and vice versa.

‘We need to ensure vulnerable people are aware of the downside of alcohol when suffering from mental conditions. Using it to alleviate anxiety, block out unwelcome thoughts and to numb painful memories or regrets can have the polar opposite effect of what drinkers are hoping to achieve’

Tom Harvey – YesMore Ltd.

As one of the original ‘Mad Men’ of advertising with that archaic view of believing drinking was glamorous and aspirational. I now think it’s time for us to all examine our relationship with booze in a fully sober and sane way.


Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.



Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #013 – November

November 1st, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Alcohol Marketing News Top 5 Stories: #013 – November”

This post first appeared as an email newsletter to our subscribers, who receive 5 top stories from the world of Alcohol Marketing each month – subscribe here to get it in your inbox each month. Your November digest of the latest and greatest from the world of alcohol marketing, by the team at YesMore Agency.



For too long brands have wasted precious time, money & resources on meticulous content planning – forcing social channels to feel frigid and ‘addy’. It’s time to empower the Community Manager and help brands be more sociable on social media again. Here.




WhiskyFest San Fransisco: 2nd Nov
@WhiskyAdvocate // $275pp
(we’ll be there, email Dan if you are)

Beavertown Black Friday: 23rd Nov
@BeavertownBeer // 6-11pm // £38pp

Sipsmith Skyline Skating: Nov-Jan
@Sipsmith // £6 – £8pp
(drunk rooftop skating, anyone?)



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Pint of lager on the bar at a pub

Why Young Teetotallers Could Be Great For Pub Culture

October 25th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing, Life / Work Balance 1 thought on “Why Young Teetotallers Could Be Great For Pub Culture”

A national institution is in crisis. We teeter on the precipice of a watershed moment in the UK’s national identity so calamitous, and with such all-encompassing consequences at every level of society and the national consciousness, that it threatens to rift apart the very fabric of our collective psyche and our ideas of what it means to be British.

I am, of course, referring to the grand British tradition of binge drinking.

Just in case you’d missed the earth-shattering news that young people are drinking less: young people are drinking less. I’ll preface our conclusions on this by making it clear that I think the marketing world’s persistent obsession with generational demographics is basically the plastic straw in the nostril of the adland turtle. But I concede that once in a while, a catch-all generational insight can be revealing.


The persistent trope paints Generation Z (ugh) as variously ‘value-driven’, ‘socially conscious’, into ‘retro’ aesthetics and, basically, smarter, savvier, kinder, healthier and in every conceivable way better than, apparently, any generation that’s gone before them.

In other words, while these young, razor-sharp, hyper-ethical do-gooders are swigging their kombucha (in between soup kitchen volunteering shifts and hours developing million-selling apps that somehow or other fight climate change from their bedrooms), we’re all drinking the Kool Aid.

There are doubtless a few kernels of truth in this. But, like everything the Strauss–Howe obsessives declare in their desperate, swivel-eyed pursuit of clicks, it’s laughably reductive.

The idea that 20-year-olds are homogeneously liberal, socially aware and more switched-on than older counterparts is obviously ridiculous. But what the misinterpreted research does indicate are some consistent trends: a generally increased awareness of social issues (notably mental health) and a penchant for the ‘retro’ (read: shell suits and Britpop).

Here’s a picture of some healthy Gen-Z’ers (probably) cheersing juices!


While some of this research paints teenagers as culturally backward-looking, where the cohort before them displayed an obsession with modernity, it’s probably more just an obvious consequence of youth’s rebellion – eschew the trends that immediately precede you. And backward-looking ideals are always just that – idealistic.

Whenever we revive the ideas and aesthetics of the past, we invariably cherry-pick. ‘Vintage’ festivals embrace the quiffs and leather jackets, leaving out the stereotyped gender roles, keenness on flick-knives and spam-based cuisine. Steampunk embraces clockwork and fun goggles without the typhoid, child labour and general heinousness of Victorian society.

And so the current ‘retro’ 90s vibe embraces Britpop without the misogynist swagger and obligatory binge-drinking.

While part of this generation’s mentality is probably to do with that cherry-picking, there might also be something to their apparently greater predilection to question the negative norms of previous generations.

And that suggests that they might be shunning not alcohol per se, but rather a particular attitude towards alcohol. Namely, the excessive drinking culture of youth that’s come to be associated with machismo, destruction and destabilisation (just take the briefest of looks at the language of drunkenness in English); all things that the yoot are supposedly increasingly sceptical about.

Frequent drinking among young adults 2005 – 2013 from the Office For National Statistics


I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those of us who grew up during Peak Booze are increasingly shifting our drink habits towards craft at the same time that the next cohort of would-be drinkers are likelier to reject booze altogether.

But the decline of vertical drinking isn’t necessarily going to equate to a wholesale reduction in alcohol consumption. Instead, the optimist in me wants to believe that we could see a new, considered, healthier approach to alcohol begin to take hold of the UK’s national psyche.

Now, I admit that’s a big leap. But with the drinks industry already behind the idea, some kind of change is inevitable – Diageo, for example, set out its stall at the start of 2018, embracing the mantra of quality over quantity that’s gradually gathered momentum over the year.


Of course, to reduce a wholesale change in a nation’s mindset to the role of big industry players, ignoring the other socioeconomic factors at play is oversimplifying it (or bang on the money, depending on where you rate on the conspiracy-theorometer). But there are all kinds of potential consequences to get excited about. Product, yes. But a new attitude towards drinking means a new attitude not just to the things we drink, but the places we drink them in. That’s where the retro aesthetic comes back in.

The traditional concept of the pub is just an objectively lovely one. It’s the reason country pubs are the go-to happy place of misty-eyed Middle England. Before that starts to sound like a prime bit of retro cherry-picking (lest we forget the UKIP campaign on the subject), the point is this: conditions are right for a revival of a more community-focused type of drinking venue, where the goal isn’t to get as pissed as possible while still being allowed in before leaving in a shower of blue vomit. I’ll save the Orwell tribute for another time, but you get the idea. Our pubs are still facing an uncertain future, and it’ll still take a raft of measures to secure them. But while it might seem counterintuitive, a less booze-minded generation doesn’t have to be a bad thing for pub culture. It could be a great one.



Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.


Canada Legalizes Cannabis – What The Drinks Industry Need to Know About ‘Canada-bis’

October 16th, 2018 Posted by Alcohol Marketing 0 thoughts on “Canada Legalizes Cannabis – What The Drinks Industry Need to Know About ‘Canada-bis’”


This week, Canada legalizes Cannabis and stores all over the country will soon open their doors to sales of a multi-billion dollar product. And what’s more, the list of products for marketers and brands to profit from is seemingly endless.

Cannabis infused gummies, beef jerky, brownies (ok we’ve known about those for a while) even cannabis infused lip balm or perfume.

Yes, since California’s Prop. 64 passed (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act “AUMA”) on November 8th 2016, dollar signs started appearing in some very hazy bloodshot eyes.

With the “green tide” washing over Canadian shores today, what does this mean for marketers and drinks marketers especially?

Let’s take a look…


While Canada legalizes cannabis just today, medical marijuana has been legal in California for over the last two decades. This full legalization in the state is the checkered flag for the now rapidly growing cannabis industry.

Marijuana is legal to some extent in 30 states in the US and is also available for recreational use in Uruguay too.

It’s also being decriminalized and is widely available in places like the Netherlands and Spain. Counties like Lebanon are currently legalizing marijuana farming in an effort to boost their economy.


“Canada fully legalizing marijuana for adult use is a historic moment that the whole world should celebrate”

Daniel Yi, a spokesman for MedMen – California-based marijuana dispensary


Legal status of recreational cannabis across the world

Legal status of recreational cannabis across the world BLUE =Legal
ORANGE = Illegal but decriminalized
PINK = Illegal but often unenforced
RED = Illegal


When weed became legalised (somewhat) in the States, sales erupted. There’s a joke here about sales being high but let’s not go there. 

Apparently the industry took $16 billion in sales in 2017. For reference, total alcoholic beverage sales in the US amounted to approximately $223.2 billion in 2016.

So in it’s first year, and despite being not made federally legal, compared to the total alcoholic beverage sales (that’s beer, wine, cocktails, everything) weed sales collected are 7.1% of alcohol sales in the US.

In terms of how it’s growing, a report titled “US Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output” by Arcview Market Research, in partnership with BDS Analytics states:


“The total economic output from legal cannabis will grow 150% from $16 billion in 2017 to $40 billion by 2021.”



Now us folks in drinks marketing are quick to jump on a hot trend, especially when numbers like the above are in play.

Even drinks giants Coke said in a statement last month that it is “closely watching” the growth of CBD, as an ingredient in what it called “functional wellness beverages”.

Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona beer, Svedka vodka and Casa Noble tequila, announced last month that it is investing an additional $4 billion in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth.

Lagunitas was the first brewery to launch a cannabis infused drink earlier this year, using THC (the bit which causes the high) not just CBD (that part which kind of just chills you out).

Whilst technically a beer, labelled as a ‘cannabis infused hoppy sparkling water’ it’s clear the company know’s what’s up. I’ll be going into further detail on this particular venture in another article coming out soon…

As for categories besides beer, there’s Cannawine now on the market – running under the promises of no hangovers, something sure to win over a portion of the alcohol market.


In 1969 a Gallop poll showed 12% of Americans favored legalisation, rising to 64% now in 2018. To quote Jon Oliver:


“Marijuana is just something we’ve all gradually decided is OK, like Mark Wahlberg as a serious actor”


Staunch Republicans and even Christian groups from both sides of politics in the US are slowly coming over to the green side, now that the law deems it ok. This rapid normalisation is something alcohol marketers need to be taking notes on.

Making it easy for consumer to find information coupled with this “open door” feeling, with products entering the market featuring clear and understandable branding is to be applauded. To any beer brand waxing lyrical on which yeast strains are in fashion currently, while at the same time wondering why new audiences are staring blankly at them. Look below…

Dosist, one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2018, developed their range of pens for the newcomer to the market.

The briefest of glances at their product range makes it clear what each one does, how it can help and what you should chose.

If this isn’t a great example of branding which educates and on-boards new consumers then I don’t know what is!


This is the main question. One article claims that of its ninety grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores surveyed alcohol sales have dropped almost 15% in states with medical marijuana laws.

The study concludes that marijuana and alcohol are in fact strong substitutes for each other. In that, from a marketing sense both products share a similar audience.

If this is to be believed (and I have several holes to pick on that massively sweeping statement), then of course by governments introducing legal marijuana and companies releasing marijuana products, we will see an impact on alcohol sales where it once reigned supreme.

A wider, even more fascinating question is whether legalised weed products will overshadow or “canna-balize” that’s right, alcohol altogether.


According to the Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G), 27% of 40,000 people surveyed last year said that cannabis already does replace beer in their lives or could if the former were legalized.


Rob McMillan, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division president was discussing this very subject with two wine industry guests.

The group stated they see no evidence for this and do not believe legalized marijuana will be a major substitute for wine consumption. McMillan pointed out that beer is more likely than wine to suffer sales reductions. His reasoning, “wine compliments a meal, marijuana doesn’t”.

Seems like Rob has never tasted the pairing of a family sized bag of Doritos with a smoke if he truly believes marijuana doesn’t work with food!

But he is onto something. We need to look at the occasion here.

Fine dining may not be under threat from switching out your merlot with some Mango Kush, and I doubt family 4th of July BBQs or Father’s Day pub sessions will evolve to a passing your Dad a vape pen over crushing a few cold lagers. But the shifts in consumer perceptions outlined above are coming rapidly, so don’t feel like it’s never going to happen.


This category will continue to boom, and this definitely isn’t all just hype. There are learnings to be had already and changes in consumer culture that’ll potentially leave your brand in the dust if you’re not paying attention.

Users of these products fall into distinct camps. Social – that’s both long terms users and new users – and medical. Both areas are full of potential, with strong consumer needs.

By understanding these needs, brands can help minimise consumers moving elsewhere. My strongest feeling is that most marketers are misunderstanding the needs of the consumer here. If you still think of weed as something you smoked at Uni (college) pre, during and post party then you’re in need of a crash course.

Some consumers will leave the market if they will find that marijuana answers their needs better than alcohol – that’s to be expected. But by acknowledging these needs and aiming to answer them in some part, you can help safeguard your brand.

Consumers are always changing and evolving and laws like these will effect the wider marketplace beyond drinks, guaranteed. Even so much so that we could be seeing products on UK shores very soon. What do you think?


Hope you enjoyed the article. For more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up to our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter or follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin.

If you’d like to hire our excellent team contact (for both US & UK work) or if working with us sounds fun (it is) email 

If you want to get back to the main site just click this way.