By Clare Goggin Sivits On April 5, 2023

Can ChatGPT Build Your Alcohol Marketing Strategy?

A lot has been made of the power of AI recently. With the launch of ChatGPT, Bing AI and, most recently, Google’s Bard, more and more people have experimented with what these bots can accomplish for them. We were not immune to the curiosity! In fact, we thought we’d take a couple for a test drive and see how good they were with alcohol branding strategy.

Alcohol beverage factory. Bottles on conveyor belt of bottle cleaning filling and capping machine.

We honed in on ChatGPT and Bard and asked each of them to deliver liquor marketing strategies and services like social media posts, ads, website design suggestions and more. The results were so interesting, we thought we’d share them with you. But keep in mind, you’re probably not going to want to fire your friendly neighborhood liquor branding agency just yet!

Here’s what we turned up with our first foray into GPT marketing!

We Asked: Build Alcohol Branding Strategy

ChatGPT coughed up seven bullets of pretty generic strategy. Even after we asked the question a few different ways, it just kept telling us the same surface-level steps: (1) identify your target audience, (2) develop a brand identity or persona, (3) determine a unique selling proposition, (4) establish brand guidelines, (5) create a brand story, (6) launch a marketing plan, (7) monitor and evaluate. Once, it mentioned complying with laws and regulations which is definitely good practice for alcohol brands but frankly, you could get more insight from just reading our blog posts.

Over on Bard, the bot tossed out many of the same bullets. However, it did single out connecting with influencers – definitely a good suggestion. But it didn’t go much beyond that – just saying that influencers could help you reach a wider audience. But which influencers and how to select them? No intel there.

However, Bard did toss in a few extra tips, including being authentic, creative, consistent and responsive. Great tips but if you want the how, Bard isn’t sharing.

We Asked: Write a Brand Story

When we suggested ChatGPT write the brand story for our client, Copper Bonnet Gin, the bot actually drafted up what amounts to a really long guess. The more generic parts of the story were somewhat impressive – it called out key botanicals and the founders’ love for the spirit.

Unfortunately, it got the founders’ names wrong, listed the incorrect ingredients (especially the key ingredient of sea kelp) and swung out into left field with its explanation for the spirits’ inspiration, writing: “The name ‘Copper Bonnet’ is a nod to the copper stills used in the distillation process, which are an essential component of crafting a high-quality gin. The founders also wanted to evoke the spirit of the American West, where the copper bonnet was a symbol of hard work, craftsmanship, and rugged individualism.”

In reality, the copper bonnet refers to an old-timey diving helmet; founders Tara and William Lawver were inspired by the sea.

On the other hand, Bard got all those details right but the story it told was boring and repetitive. It’s pretty clear, the bot stole a whole lot from the brand’s website and just regurgitated it to us in the app, reusing a lot of words. Bard could use a thesaurus.

We Asked: Write a Search Ad

As we dug into the details of alcohol branding with ChatGPT, we asked it to write a search ad for our client, 30A Distilling Co. It spit out a solid paragraph about visiting the distillery’s tasting room and how the spirits highlight the “taste of the Gulf Coast,” an impressive flex of knowledge. But the copy was boring and it failed to identify headlines, keywords or a call to action.

Over on Bard, the app has an advantage since it was created by Google – the leader when it comes to search advertising. The bot outlined a single headline, body text and a call to action. But it still didn’t serve up any suggestions for keywords and, given how Google search ads typically require more than one headline and a couple of alternatives for body copy, it’s pretty weak.

We Asked: Write an Instagram Post

Time for social media activation! For our client Reverb Distilling, ChatGPT whipped up a non-specific blurb about “unique spirits” and a few cocktail-focused hashtags. It only called out two specific spirits: gin and rum. While Reverb does craft both, the brand’s primary products are actually whiskey and bourbon. There’s zero mention of that – or the distillery’s philosophy of aging spirits harmoniously with music. The copy also has a real “this brand is for everyone” feel when the distillery actually has a very specific target audience. Once again, ChatGPT misses the mark.

Then we asked Bard and didn’t get much better. However, the app did offer a description of an image: “A bottle of Reverb Distilling American Whiskey, with a shot of the distillery in the background.” The copy gets the whiskey product right but everything else is just as generic as the ChatGPT entry.

We Asked: Design a Website

Since we already designed an award-winning website for Side Hustle Brews & Spirits, we felt pretty confident asking ChatGPT to give us its take on a website for the brand. The app dropped an outline of about six pages with basic descriptions of what should go on each one. It described the banner and footer as well. The breakdown offers a very superficial outlook for what will end up being a very involved process of building and designing a high-quality experience for website visitors.

Meanwhile, Bard suggested four specific sections with even less detail about what appears in each. The bot included a number of additional tips to go along with its outline, including “use high-quality images” and “use clear and concise language.” Those tips are helpful but another two revealed the app’s limitations: “Make it easy to buy” and “Offer discounts and promotions.” Both suggestions show a complete misunderstanding of the industry and its Direct-to-Consumer and legal challenges. It’s definitely an area where you need a human being.

Overall, to get effective marketing for your craft spirits brand, you need people behind the strategy – not GPT. Invest in a marketing team or an agency like us and you won’t regret it.

If you’re interested in getting started on an alcohol branding strategy, contact us to set up a consultation and we’ll prove to you why a real marketing team is better than a bot any day.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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