As the Sober Curious trend grows in Japan, Amazon Ads is helping Wilkinson serve up non-alcoholic beverages

a Wilkinson mocktail

December 06, 2021 | By: Matt Miller, Sr. Copywriter

The events of 2020 and 2021 have changed many consumers’ approach to health and wellness. Across the globe, consumers are reconsidering how to make healthier choices in their lives, from frequent handwashing, to wearing a mask, to changing diet and exercise regimens. According to a 2021 report from Forbes, “58% of consumers are drinking more non-alcoholic (NA) beverages than last year while 61% of consumers want better choices when it comes to NA drinks.” During this time, some consumers are considering what is called a “Sober Curious” lifestyle.

What is Sober Curious?

In her 2018 book, Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, Ruby Warrington defines being “Sober Curious” as people interested in exploring ways to live a life with more alcohol-free beverage options.

Warrington’s book served as inspiration for a campaign from Wilkinson and Amazon Ads to reach customers interested in exploring a Sober Curious lifestyle. In Japan, Wilkinson is the number-one most popular sparkling water brand—and according to AIP data, 78% of the brand’s existing customers are men in their 40s who like to drink Wilkinson with whiskey. Wilkinson wanted to reach younger, health-conscious adult consumers in a new way, so the brand teamed up with Amazon Ads to create a campaign centered around the sober curious lifestyle.

“Sober Curious is about choosing a healthy lifestyle,” said Amazon Ads Art Director for Custom Advertising Japan Miyuki Matsumoto. “We know recently young people in Japan are interested in living a mentally fulfilling life with their own hobbies, healthy foods, and peaceful time at home. We saw that this could be a good match for Wilkinson's new customers.”

A lemon sparkling water mocktail being poured in a relaxing cozy patio space

According to a Reuters report in early 2021, non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic beer revenue is expected to grow by 20% in Japan this year. Wilkinson and Amazon Ads created a custom landing page that shows how sparkling water fits into a Sober Curious lifestyle. The page, which launched in June of 2021, also includes recipes for “mocktails” using Wilkinson. The landing page gives recipes for “mocktails” fit for parties (an Orange Tea Soda), for physical activity (Honey Lemon Squash), for drinking during work (a lemon sparkling water). There’s also a link to buy Warrington’s book on the page.

Wilkinson and Amazon Ads created a custom landing page

The landing page uses original imagery created by Amazon Ads that captures how Wilkinson fits into ways to be Sober Curious as part of a healthy lifestyle that also includes socializing and physical activity . The images on the page show people chatting at a dinner party over Wilkinson mocktails or drinking a sparkling water with a lime twist during yoga practice at home.

Woman drinking a sparkling water with a lime twist during yoga practice at home

So far, the campaign, which runs through the end of the 2021, has received hundreds of thousands of views, along with thousands of recipe downloads.

The campaign also had an impressive social impact, with customers tweeting about ways to be Sober Curious as part of a healthy lifestyle, and received major media attention. Nikkei, one of the biggest newspapers in Japan, wrote an article about the campaign. “The articles are saying how it’s totally on trend during the pandemic to drink these healthy drinks at home, and that this new lifestyle of drinking sparkling water attracts younger adult audiences,” Matsumoto said.

Since the campaign launched, Matsumoto said Wilkinson has gotten requests to reuse the photos and marketing for Wilkinson campaigns in other countries and is already looking at plans for next year. The non-alcoholic drinks industry is expected to grow annually by 5.33%, with annual growth projected to hit 7.1% by 2025, according to a report from Statista.

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