NZ Drinks Are A Hot Commodity On Social Media

Written on 09 December, 2014 by Shounak Gupte
Categories Blog

What can we learn from Charlie’s Straight Up Cola and Lewis Road Creamery?

Social media has taken residence in New Zealand. An increasingly digitalised kiwi audience means more than half our 4.5 million population are on Facebook. The audience is there, it’s just that the message needs to be appropriately packaged.

Two home-grown drinks brands that have social media success perfectly bottled are Lewis Road Creamery and Charlie’s Straight Up Cola. In this post we take a look at how they successfully (if inadvertently) used social media to creatively build their brand.

Brand case study: Lewis Road Chocolate Milk

Unless you’ve been hiding under a pretty sizable rock, you’d know that Lewis Road “artisan” chocolate milk has been causing a stir in New Zealand over the past few weeks. Never ones to miss a craze, loyal enthusiasts have been queuing outside of supermarkets across the North Island to get their hands on a bottle of what is reputed to be the best milk you’ll ever try.


What is the secret ingredient driving the chocolatey craze?
With not a penny spent on advertising the Lewis Road Creamery brand has seen hundreds of kiwis taking to Facebook and other social media sites to sing praises for the delicious treat and give tips to their buddies on where they can find a bottle for themselves.

Lewis Road has been successful in responding to each loyal follower, answering queries in real-time and keeping people updated on deliveries. The brand has capitalised on social media engagement to bolster brand and product awareness.

“It’s just exploded,” said Lewis Road founder Peter Cullinane, a former global chief operating officer for advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi.

Folk at home and overseas have also been conversing over Twitter to express their bewilderment over how chocolate milk can spark such a fever.

From what began as an experiment between Lewis Road and much-loved accomplice Whittakers Chocolate, came an unprecedented demand for the liquidy delight, which was only launched in October.

Record worthy demand
The first trial batch was swilled in record time and since then Lewis Road has increased their primary 4,000 litre run to 20,000 litres every single week. Sites such as Trade Me have seen single 750ml bottles of Lewis Road Creamery’s Chocolate Milk sell for up to $20.

Capitalise on the conversation
Businesses can learn a great deal from this inadvertent event. By providing a unique, quality product which holds New Zealand values close to its heart, the Lewis Road Creamery has successfully handled its social media inundation and enjoyed maximum sales. Money can’t buy the type of exposure the brand has had in the past month – the combination of popularity, reputation and customer service has resulted in one of the biggest social media frenzies of the year.


Case study 2: Charlie’s Cola

Charlie’s is a brand that is leading by example in the digital arena. With the launch of their newest product, Straight Up Cola, the brand bravely invited kiwis to jump on their Facebook and Instagram pages to make their opinions heard.

Tapping into a social media community of more than 2.8 million New Zealanders, the company is asking customers to express their candid thoughts on the new product. If the response is positive, Charlie’s make another batch. Simple.

 A transparent approach to marketing
“One of our mantras is being committed to listening and acting on it,” states Craig Cotton, CEO of The Better Drinks Company. The very concept behind the Charlie’s Straight Up Cola was due to consumer requests for a cola in their range. Customers feel involved and engaged, building stronger brand awareness.

The feedback on social media is also rapid, which makes it easy for the company to assess customer reactions. In responding to posts and conversations in real-time, users are further encouraged to get online and share their ideas, fuelling the reach of the Charlie’s brand. By being open and inviting, they’ve bolstered over 60,000 Facebook subscribers.

The lessons we can take from Lewis Road and Charlie’s Cola:
Be authentically intriguing. By aligning your goals with customer satisfaction, you will generate new business and foster brand loyalty. Posting relevant, engaging content is one of the simplest ways to enhance a digital following and drive online success for your brand.

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