The Facebook logo, with the Smirnoff logo superimposed.
Facebook users prefer Smirnoff, Baileys or whatever Facebook tells them to buy, Nielsen studies note. (Photo Credits: CC BY/benstein/Flickr; CC BY-ND/Therese F/Flickr)

Facebook drives users to drink, or at least to drink certain brands, according to a study by liquor conglomerate Diageo. Sales have jumped for Smirnoff and Baileys since they started advertising heavily on Facebook.

Facebook users, actively engaged

The casual Facebook user may be taken aback by the numbers. On advertising alone, the social network is primed to make several billion dollars in 2011. Diageo notes that Smirnoff and Baileys are two of the biggest advertisers on Facebook, and in-store sales of their vodka and Irish cream beverages have spiked by 20 percent, according to Nielsen data.

Diageo Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Kathy Parker spoke with the Financial Times regarding the boom in sales.

“Facebook is working with us to make sure that we are not only fan collecting, but that they are actively engaged,” said Parker.

Diageo, which owns Smirnoff and Guinness among other brands, entered into a $10 million-plus relationship with Facebook, notes Gawker. Facebook also shares the same office building with Diageo’s corporate headquarters in Sao Paolo, Brazil. With more than 750 million Facebook users ripe for data mining and massive money to be made, expect the booze ads to continue flowing.

Digital marketing SWAT team

Brand building on Facebook is becoming as close to a sure thing as possible in the corporate world these days. Recognizing this, Diageo upped its digital marketing budget by 50 percent over the past year to approximately 20 percent of its media spending. Traffic for social network ads by Diageo and other Facebook-allied companies (including Procter & Gamble Co., American Express and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.) have gotten more traffic than online display ads and traditional search, which explains the interest. Considering that Facebook puts together special “SWAT teams” to help key advertisers succeed, those with the power of the dollar behind them receive digital star treatment of which most companies can only dream.

Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson predicts that the Diageo partnership will create case studies from which numerous world brands can learn. Once that happens, not only will Facebook continue to drive users to drink certain drinks, it will further shape what consumers purchase.


Financial Times:


Smirnoff Experience:

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