The Decision-Making Process of Buying a Drink

Many studies have been made during the last decades to assess the connection between the psychological factors influencing the economical behavior of men. Many of those studies have come to the conclusion that when consumers buy a product they do not simply buy something to consume. It is one of the most interesting questions to be answered: why consumers do buy many more products they do not have the necessity? They even select products they need to have for their daily lives according to certain ‘irrational’ choices, like brand name, fashion-like, etc. Thus, business companies and firms have become very keen to find new ways to ‘get inside people’s minds and inner desires’. The final scope was to make the customers not only buy a product but feel that that product represents more than something to be consumed. This is what ‘branding’ tries to do with people; it aims to drive consumer behavior. Not only respond to the public needs and desires but to form new ones as well (Gomez-Mejia et al., 2008, p. 4).

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The same situation is true regarding the alcoholic drinks market industry in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the world. Several companies are striving to become well-recognized brands to consumers. This is done to create an ‘invisible inner connection’ between the consumer and the drink he, or she, is drinking. Thus, the alcohol consumer drinking market is constantly seeking to create inner connections with the consumer minds, emotions, and feelings. This is beautifully expressed in the words of James Robinson, account executive on Bacardi at McCann’s, which was quoted by Brabbs (2000) as saying that, “The ads don’t target people – they target a state of mind. Breezer represents a distinctive place in people’s night out between beer and spirits – they’re neither sober nor wasted on it – and that’s what we tried to capture. We were seeking to dramatize the fun and mischievous side that Breezer brings out in you.”

It is this ‘state of the mind’ that is a strong component in the decision-making process of what drink to consume and even where to consume it. It has become more a cultural sign than just a consumer of a product or service. When you buy a drink in a pub or a club it ‘feels’ way different than when you purchase one in an off-license store. The difference stays in the environment surrounding the client. In the off-license store, the client ‘feels’ alone and knows that the drink he, or she, is buying is only for private consumption in the house. The term ‘for private consumption’ does not mean that the client will be ‘alone’ when consuming the drink. He, or she, could be even with friends or family adults but still, it will not be a public space including several other people and it will not comprise a ‘public image’. When one decides to buy a drink in a pub or a club, he or she is conscious that is buying a drink in a public space. Thus, it is the public image that interests the buyer as much, if not more, than what is he, or she, drinking. This sense of the image created in the ‘eyes of others’ is very important when choosing to buy a drink. In a pub or a club, the drink you buy is related to the image you want to express to others. This is an image that you want others to perceive about yourself. Thus, you buy a Bacardi Brezzer to transmit a certain message to the outside environment. This is why you choose it.

What individual and group influences are likely to affect someone’s choice of drink brand?

Although launched in 1994, the Breezer brand really became well established in early 1999 when a £5.6 mn advertising campaign targeting 18-24-year-olds assured us ‘Bacardi Breezer: there’s Latin spirit in everyone’ (Cozens, 1999). It is this ‘Latin spirit’ that assures Bacardi to be the choice of young men and women in the bars, clubs, and pubs across the United Kingdom. This individual choice of customers to create a public image of macho is the driving force behind the individual forces pressuring the individual to make a particular choice. In today’s society, the individual is looking always to create an ‘attractive’ image of him, or her, in the face of others and make one more ‘attractive’. This has become an axiom of modern societies. People tend to make individual choices that will make them look a certain way in public. Especially when we are talking about attractiveness between the sexes than the drink bought in the pub could serve even as a sign of attraction for the other sex. As we saw above the motto of Bacardi Brezzer was the “Latin spirit within every one of us’. When a male buys a Bacardi Brezzer in a pub or a club then it might feel more macho and become more attractive to women in the same environment. Also, the same could be true for women in the same environment. They buy the Bacardi Brezzer and they think that this would create a more adventurous image of them as women in career or emancipated, etc.

The pressures of society for buying a certain drink are similar to the one described above for the individual pressure. In today’s society to be someone with a spirit of adventure, to be someone with financial autonomy, and to look ‘good’ has become a norm. This particular societal pressure makes the individual believe that to look good in public he or she has to buy certain products. It can be a good car, fancy and fashionable clothes or even a certain category of drinks. For this reason, when one goes to the pub it cannot order certain categories of drink and should order certain others. Also, the buying of a drink other than a beer makes one look like having a certain level of financial income. Of course, drinks are more expensive than beers and are considered to be part of a ‘higher status’ within society for the reason explained above. These reasons are the ones that exert important pressure on the individual. This pressure could make one spend more money on acquiring these drinks like Bacard Brezzer instead of some other drink, one that could be cheaper or even unknown.

Explain the roles of the various marketing activities described in this case in influencing consumer behavior.

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The marketing and advertising industry have become ‘major forces’ influencing the lives of the individual (Gomez-Mejia et al. 2008). If we see the results of the advertising campaigns of the Bacardi Brezzer we will see clear results.

By November 2000, the company had completed one of its most exhaustive advertising and marketing campaigns. At this time, it was estimated that the ‘Latin Spirit’ campaign had doubled the sales volumes of the brand. With these results, the Bacardi Brezzer brand had become the UK’s biggest-selling pre-mixed spirit in all of the United Kingdom. These are clear results from the marketing campaign.

Also, we must add that its market share by value was almost 40 percent and it was available in 60 percent of all on-trade outlets. As the reader might understand from what said before, the on-trade sells alcohol for consumption on the premises, for example, pubs and clubs, while the off-trade, for example, wine shops and supermarkets, sells it for consumption elsewhere in the cities or towns (Mason, 2000). A strong new development was introduced for the run-up to Christmas in the character of Tom the cat. Tom lives a normal pampered puss existence with a sweet little old lady by day, but by night, he’s a seasoned cat-about-town clubber, flirting with the girls, hanging around on the bar with the Breezer bottles, and grooving on the dance floor. This is the image part we were talking about before. The advertising campaign shows people ‘the how’ to do this. They tell people, they instruct people, that Bacardi is not just a drink but is something that will make you have this certain public image in the eyes of others. This image in itself will make one look in a certain way and be classified by others in a certain positive category, for example, trendy, macho, etc. (Palmer, 2005).

It is the creation of such categories and inner feelings that the advertising and marketing campaigns target to form in individuals. By doing this they sort of incorporate these things inside the psyche of the individual by transforming them to societal values. Once they have succeeded in forming these new societal values of the public life it is much easier to sell a product. Now, you are not offering just a product or service anymore but values. This is the understanding of the logo ‘Latin spirit’. In our case in the summer 2000, the advertising was further reinforced by the investment of £1.5 million on the portable Vivid tent, 75 feet tall and the length and breadth of a football pitch, for use at events such as music festivals. Vivid is entered via giant inflatable slides which take consumers to ‘pleasure zones’ including a glass dance floor made up of TV screens showing tropical fish, a 40 feet helter-skelter, an area with cushions and hammocks, and a games area with table football, air hockey and Quasar. There is also, of course, am ample bar area! All of these serve as attraction for the creation, formation of the new values and feelings we have been discussing before. But the company did not stop here.

Bacardi Breezer also has a dedicated website. In it Bacardi shows a strong clubbing theme. The web agency Loudcloud which designed the site said that ‘The site will be pretty radical and out there’ and that it would provide young adults with ‘lunchtime escapism’ from the daily routines of work

Given the huge range of beers and lagers available and their dominance of the market, why do you think there is still room for products such as Bacardi Breezer?

This is due to the fact that when you buy a Bacardi Brezzer you are buying more than just a drink. At least this is what the company wants you to feel and believe like when purchasing their products (Gomez-Mejia et al., 2008). The explanation of this process is what we have tried to describe above. Also, the marketing campaign raised by the company has created a certain network of values around the product Bacardi Brezzer. When you buy a beer you are one of the many. When you buy a beer, you are identified as being part of a certain class or having a certain status in society. Suddenly, in the eyes of the others, you are just a commoner. But when you purchase a Bacardi Brezzer you become more than just a client. First of all you become a client with gusto. Second, you show your Latin spirit, your spirit of fun, dancing and good life. Third, you demonstrate to others that you have a certain level and status and are not like all the others. This is what the company wants you to believe differentiate you from the other customers not purchasing your drink.

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This is why there is still room for products like Bacardi Brezzer. People like to differentiate themselves and think they are unique in their choices. In today’s modern society individualism is at the forefront of every decision we make and drinks like the one we are talking about do help the individual create an illusion of being individualistic and differentiated from the others in the choice he, or she, is making by purchasing that drink.

This is due to the fact that when you buy a Bacardi Brezzer you are buying more than just a drink. At least this is what the company wants you to feel and believe like when purchasing their products (Gomez-Mejia et al., 2008). The explanation of this process is what we have tried to describe above. Also, the marketing campaign raised by the company has created a certain network of values around the product Bacardi Brezzer. When you buy a beer you are one of the many. When you buy a beer, you are identified as being part of a certain class or having a certain status in society. Suddenly, in the eyes of the others, you are just a commoner. But when you purchase a Bacardi Brezzer you become more than just a client. First of all you become a client with gusto. Second, you show your Latin spirit, your spirit of fun, dancing and good life. Third, you demonstrate to others that you have a certain level and status and are not like all the others. This is what the company wants you to believe differentiate you from the other customers not purchasing your drink.

References

Brabbs, E. (2000) Marketing and the new state of the mind. London, McGraw Hill Company.

Cozens, W. (1999) Bacardi Brezzer: the Latin Spirit in every one of us. London, Blackwell Publishing.

Gomez-Mejia, R. David, B. Robert, L. (2008) Management: People, Performance, Change, 3rd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Mason, E. (2000) The Bacardi Brezzer experience in marketing. London, Blackwell Publishing House.

Palmer, A. (2005) Introduction to Marketing. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

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