Ay Ay Ay, Me Gusta!
That’s what they’re saying in Turkey about Efes Beer Group’s Gusta brand after
an innovative marketing campaign spurred a major boost in awareness and sales.
Obstacles: Market and Societal Forces
Turkey’s beer sector is relatively young, and is dominated by Efes Beer Group, a subsidiary of the Turkish conglomerate, Andolu Group.
Efes had a major challenge to grow sales of its Gusta brand in 2009. There is a ban on advertising alcoholic beverages in Turkey, and the increasing influence of the country’s religious right added social pressures. At the same time, with the global economic downturn, unemployment in Turkey was increasing and consumers were tightening their belts.
Two-step Marketing Strategy
The Gusta brand managers at Efes responded by devising an innovative marketing campaign targeting young urban consumers and aimed at getting them involved with the product. The highlights of the campaign were:
• Gusta Map: a web-based involvement program
• Gusta Expert: an on-site sampling program
The overall aim of the Gusta marketing strategy was to increase sales by winning customers in a social way through brand experience and product sampling. Further objectives were to increase brand awareness, to strengthen the brand image, and to reach new consumers for the Gusta and Gusta Dark beers.
There was some risk to this marketing strategy in a society that discourages young people from mingling in bars. To overcome this, the two-step marketing program first involved people via their computers, and then in person, facilitated by wholesome, young—but not too young—women who were the hosts of the program, delivering the brand promise: Gusta!
First, Efes created Gusta Map, an online social networking platform designed
to appeal to web-savvy young people. As its name implies, Gusta Map was a site to share experiences, music, recommendations—and to find real-time locations where Gusta was served and rated by other Gusta Map users.
To make the experience real, the Gusta Expert program recruited and trained Gusta girls who were placed in selected restaurant and bar outlets. They worked as servers and invited customers to try Gusta. They also recommended menu items that were compatible with Gusta. To reinforce the fun of Gusta, consumers were offered branded gifts, including beer mugs (33cl), coasters, trays, ice buckets, and bottle openers.
Even Efes exclaimed “Gusta!” when the brand’s daily sales average increased by 38%.
In the first three months, Gusta Map attracted a whopping 61,000 page views, plus 300 Facebook fans and followers. The popularity of the site motivated more restaurants and bars to apply for inclusion. The launch of the Gusta Expert marketing program was so successful that it was expanded to include the Gusta Dark brand. For Gusta Expert, the initial three locations quickly mushroomed to one dozen. The program has been so popular that there are now five permanent Gusta Expert locations.
Gusta is the talk of the town in big cities across Turkey where “Ay ay ay, me
Gusta!” can be heard in the wee hours of the morning…
About Meric Aksoy
Meric Aksoy has risen through the ranks at Efes Beer Group to become Product Manager for Gusta. He started out working on the popular Efes Pilsen brand in 1999. At that time, he served as a sales representative, advancing to sales supervisor until his promotion to his current position in 2004. He earned his B.A. in business administration from Dogu Akdeniz University in Turkey.
About Efes Beer Group
Efes Beer Group was founded in Turkey in 1969, and today consists of sixteen breweries in Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, and Serbia, with headquarters in Istanbul. As the 8th most popular European brand by sales volume and the 5th largest European brewer on combined production basis, the group is ranked 12th in the world beer market.
About Anadolu Efes
Anadolu Efes Biracilik ve Malt Sanayii A.S. undertakes the beverage operations of Anadolu Endüstri Holding A.S., one of Turkey's leading conglomerates. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2009, Anadolu Efes, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a system of companies that produces and markets beer, malt, and soft drinks across a wide geographic area including Turkey, Russia, the CIS countries, South Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Want to win marketing awards like Efes did? Read our tipsheet, 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the Stevies.