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AB InBev debuts Instagram’s first beer ads with Stella Artois push

By Seb Joseph | News editor

December 2, 2014 | 4 min read

Stella Artois is running Instagram’s first beer ads as owner AB InBev looks to steal a march in the digital arms race between brewers trying to refresh their brands for younger drinkers.

The brewer is banking on the social network to bolster its sway over younger drinkers by tapping into the popularity of food and drink pictures its users share with one another.

Other alcohol brands such as Bacardi and Corona have used similar ploys in recent months but Stella Artois is the first beer to use Instagram’s ads since they launched last November.

Stella Artois Instagram

The ads, which depict the beer alongside food in festive settings, are targeted to the appropriately aged users using data.

Promoting beer and food pairings has fuelled the success of the craft segment and AB InBev is hoping it can adapt the tactic to stoke growth this Christmas. The Instagram ads are part of Stella Artois’ wider festive activity, making them AB InBev’s biggest push around food to date following a smaller effort in the UK for its Leffe blond beer.

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Lucas Herscovici, vice president of onsumer connections at AB InBev, said: “Reaching and engaging legal drinking age millennial consumers is critical for all of our brands. As a leading social platform for 21+ consumers, Instagram is a very important channel for us. We are excited to work with Instagram as they seek to integrate advertising into the consumer experience, which is as high quality and beautiful as the images users would normally see in their feeds.

“Given the commitment to artistry and sophistication that defines the Stella Artois brand, we thought featuring imagery supporting the brand's holiday campaign, “Give Beautifully,” would be the perfect fit.”

The brewer becomes the latest brand to pour money into Instagram as its fledgling advertising offering begins to take shape. Disney and Activision were among the first to use the site’s first video ads last month, while Ben & Jerry’s and Levi’s have been nofirable users of Instagram’s paid for ad unit over the last 12 months.

Stella Artois' Instagram ads are running in the US and should they prove successful then it could rouse other beer brands into deploying them. The alcohol industry has a firm handle on Facebook and Twitter but is yet to fully get to grips with the more creative and visual demands of the photo-based platform. It represents the latest hurdle brewers are trying to overcome in the race to build more aggressive marketing strategies capable of getting people to pay more attention to beer.

Uneven sales growth over the last several years combined with shifting views around health have forced many of the big brewers to admit that younger drinkers are spurning mainstream beers. AB InBev is reportedly set to dial up its focus on targeting under-28s, fuelling ongoing investments to link TV closer to digital content and experiential events.

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