Following a successful UK launch this year and rising popularity with Gen Z consumers, Four Loko, the vodka-based ready-to-drink is now recruiting student ambassadors across seven universities in England and Scotland for a four month-long campaign to take the brand to its key student market.  

The specially selected ambassadors will represent Four Loko with peer-to-peer sampling at student parties and events, hosted across each city. The 35 ambassadors will also provide content for social channels and support students’ path to purchase.

Originally the brainchild of three American college friends, the vodka-based RTD was launched into the UK market this year by Red Star Brands. Available in a number of leading convenience and wholesale retailers, its stand-out shelf appeal and digital marketing campaign has already brought successful sales for the brand across the UK and Ireland.

The student ambassador campaign aims to drive awareness within an important trading period when students head to university, socialising is unrestricted and key calendar dates like Halloween and Christmas bring people together. Recent data suggests that sales of spirit-based RTDs spike at Christmas, demonstrating a clear seasonal consumption occasion.*

Gavin Woodroofe, UKIRE Manager of Phusion Projects said of the student ambassador launch: “The global RTD category is booming, with format and flavour innovation driving consumption occasions and recruiting consumers, especially students. In fact, according to the IWSR it was the only alcohol drinks category that was in volume growth in 2020, up by 43% globally** and insights suggest the growth is expected to continue, with RTDs outperforming the rest of the alcohol market for at least the next five years.

“It’s the perfect time to launch Four Loko’s student ambassador marketing campaign, to capitalise on the momentum that’s been building in the category so far. For years we’ve been conducting successful marketing drives in the US, creating ‘Epic Stories’ for millennials and Gen Z students. As a result, we have a strong USP and brand awareness that we’re aiming to replicate in the UK.”

Clark McIlroy, managing director of Red Star Brands, the distributor of the RTD added: “Initial consumer response to Four Loko in the UK has been positive and we’re seeing consumers enjoying all flavours, with sales data showing a quarter of shopping baskets that included alcoholic beverages, also contained over two cans of Four Loko*.

“This reflects the usage of RTDs as “pre drinks”, as students look to extend the occasion with evening alcohol consumption at home before a night out.

“In addition to the student ambassador scheme, there will be continued distribution planned across the Autumn, to further support Four Loko’s growth in the UK.”

Four Loko is available in four flavours – Blue, Fruit Punch flavour, Gold and Sour Apple flavour, at 8.5% ABV in 440ml cans. It can be purchased through selected wholesale and convenience groups, including Parfetts, United Wholesale Scotland and Filshill.

*Source: Richmond Brand Revolutionaries RTD report for Ireland, August 2021

**Source: London Spirits Competition, June 2021, https://londonspiritscompetition.com/en/blog/insights-1/how-rtds-are-taking-on-all-comers-in-the-drinks-industry–349.htm

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