Sucker Punch and the secrets to marketing to Gen Z
By Sandy Kaduce, Senior Marketing Strategist
The Sucker Punch origin story
The idea for Sucker Punch came to us when we realized there was a white space in the market for low alcohol beverages: a drink specifically targeted at and designed for Gen Z. This was based on the observation that Gen Z differs from older generations in some important ways.
They’re 20% less likely to drink compared to previous generations at the same age
They’re educated about the risks of drinking and less likely to tolerate hangovers
Going out is less important to them than previous generations – they want to have fun, but they don’t need to get wasted to have a good time
The research we conducted with our sister company, Foolproof, also uncovered that Gen Z is all about experience and convenience. They want to enjoy the experience of drinking and hanging out with friends. But they don’t want to drink triple-hopped IPAs that require them to “acquire the taste.” They want products that taste great, look beautiful, and help them have fun and look good while they’re doing it. Gen Z has sophisticated taste, perhaps due to their diversity (they are the most diverse generation in history), but they lack time to mix their own cocktails. Premixed beverages simply suit their lifestyle.
From these insights, Sucker Punch—a low alcohol beverage brand that delivers on the promise of fun without the hangovers—was born.
Once we had the idea, we gathered further research and looked at competitors in the category to see how we could appeal to this up-and-coming audience. Born between 1995 and 2015, Gen Z is just beginning to come of age as consumers and alcohol drinkers. But as the largest generation across the globe—and 20% of the population here in the U.S.—they’re a demographic worth pursuing. And they are growing up fast.
Then, we researched everything we could about what appeals to Gen Z today. We learned about their color preferences (they love bright sunny shades with a retro touch, think 80s neon and 60s brights). We looked at how they talk, the best ways to reach them and even what style of photography they prefer.
Visually, the goal with Gen Z is to “keep it real.”
79 percent of Gen Z say they trust a company more when they share realistic looking (not photoshopped) images in their marketing.
84 percent say they trust companies more when they use real customers in their ads. (Source)
Gen Z also expects brands to take an inclusive approach to their imagery. Gen Z is an extremely diverse generation and wants to see this reflected in images.
When building websites for Gen Z, keep in mind short attention spans and high expectations. Everything on a site should function properly, be useful, and most of all, it should be visually attractive.
We leaned into the design aesthetic of Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio to build the Sucker Punch brand site. Guided by De Architectura, his renowned treatise on architecture, we focused on durability, usability, and beauty.
Just like with photography, Gen Z wants marketers to keep it real when it comes to the written word. Tell the truth, and keep in mind they are naturally skeptical. This is a generation that has been raised in a time of conflict and scarcity in ways that previous generations have not. Painting a rosy picture of the world won’t necessarily fly with them.
In addition, make sure you are talking directly to them, in the ways they prefer. That means keep it brief. Simple phrases, tight copy blocks, short form content, even emojis or images in the place of copy—this is how Gen Z communicates. To capture and keep Gen Z’s attention, your brand should communicate like them, too.
Each generation is unique, but Gen Z is truly unlike any other. Their formative years were marked by recession, COVID, and reliance on mobile technology from an extremely early age. All these aspects affect how they see the world, and your brand. Understanding their beliefs and experiences can go a long way to help make the connections that will build affinity and loyalty with your brand.
These are just a few of the insights we share in our Gen Z CPG playbook. To learn more about how to appeal to Gen Z with your brand, download the playbook by completing the form below.