The Old-Timer Making Waves as a Newcomer: The Rise of Disaronno

It was striking that in our top table, many of the brands named were the only ones in their niche. Jack Daniel’s was the only whiskey brand that appeared; Guinness the only stout; and Baileys the only Irish cream. Can Disaronno achieve the same widespread popularity?

Back in 2017, when we ran our first alcohol brand index, Disaronno was nowhere to be seen. This time around, though, the amaretto brand which dates back to 1525, not only ascended into our table of top brands (it claimed one percent of total recall, making it the 20th most-named alcohol brand), but it took first prize when it came to likability.

With a stunningly high NPS of 80%, and 90% of people saying they would be very likely to buy the brand in the future, it’s clear that amongst those who are drinking it, Disaronno is held in high esteem. For Disaronno manufacturers, it’s a promising launchpad: the people buying the almond liquor, rate it highly. But clearly what they need to work on now is ubiquity. If they can combine these good reviews with a winning marketing strategy, Disaronno should be aiming to push even higher up our alcohol brand index table next time.

It’s a game that’s particularly worth playing for the brand given the findings of our industry report when it comes to whether people are more likely to name the product, or the brand.

It was striking that in our top table, many of the brands named were the only ones in their niche. Jack Daniel’s was the only whiskey brand that appeared; Guinness the only stout; and Baileys the only Irish cream.

When you think about it, the brand name has eclipsed the product in real life as well. Ordering a ‘JD and coke’ is much more run-of-the-mill than 

asking for ‘whiskey and coke’. It would be unusual to order a pint of stout, rather than requesting a Guinness. And Baileys has become an ice cream flavour, a chocolate, and an after dinner drink of choice. Demanding ‘Irish Cream ice cream’ would be downright bizarre.

On the other hand, broader subsectors of the alcohol industry are cluttered with brand names, many of which we would rarely use. Though Gordon’s was the only gin brand named in our top 21 brands, ordering a ‘Gordon’s and tonic’ would be thoroughly odd. Clearly, with the competition from many smaller gin distilleries (further down our index, Hendrick’s, Tanqueray, and Sipsmith were all named by a smattering of people), this brand has not managed to dominate the product category in which it competes.

The same trend emerges with two major players in the alcohol world: vodka and beer. In both categories, a wide selection of brands were named. But beyond the brand names, a huge number of people also said simply, ‘beer’ and ‘vodka’. Couple that with the large proportion of respondents who named ‘wine’, and the dearth of even one wine brand named in the top 21 alcohol labels. It’s difficult, among these widely-consumed beverages to make your name synonymous— or even superior—than the category itself.

Where does this leave Disaronno? With a positive outlook. A liquor made from apricot kernel is always going to be a little left-of-field. It’s in these smaller, more specialised alcohols that brands can gain the most traction. It’s a good start that only one participant named ‘Amaretto’ as their favourite brand—already, then, Disaronno are making their name heard and remembered. Their revitalised marketing strategy should go some way in helping.

Their latest campaign turns to social media to capture the attention of younger consumers around the world. At the beginning of the year, the brand decided to cease international cocktail competitions in favor of championing bartenders local to three key cities (Milan, Amsterdam, and London) on YouTube and Facebook. It’s a departure from their lux Italian image, and a move towards their updated slogan, ‘Be Original’.

It follows firmly in the footsteps of their 2016 summerlong launch of the Disaronno Sour. Influencers were invited every day to the Disaronno Sour Hour at the rooftop of the Ace Hotel in London to drink (and snap) the brand. The campaign saw millions of photos of the brand against the London skyline uploaded across all platforms (the total reach of the campaign was 9,151,835 Instagram users, an 180% increase on their target).

There’s a backdrop of heritage, even in this age of social media, to what they do. Their ‘Disaronno Wears’ partnerships which have been announced annually for the last five years, are a testament to this. This year’s collaboration—Disaronno Wears Missoni—has a contemporary edge. The iconic, natty Missoni zig-zags, are bold in colour and overtly Italian in origin. The four bottles that preceded Missoni—Moschino, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Etro—are equally ostentatious in their Italianness.

It’s a perceptive idea to link the brand firmly to a country. Our previous study revealed that tying a brand to a specific country or city’s image is a powerful tool to create lasting awareness. Consumers named many places when asked to capture a brand in one word—Spain, Amsterdam, Italy, and Russia all made appearances—demonstrating that making origin a part of the brand is a winning strategy.

The ‘Disaronno Wears’ campaign is flamboyant in its aesthetic. It’s designed to travel far and wide on the hashtag wave, but one that stays true to the elegant origins of the brand, reinforcing the old image through new channels. Strategies like this make it feel perfectly natural that Disaronno would launch a £250 bottle of their product (a regular bottle costs about £12). Luxury sits comfortably alongside mass appeal.

Their 2017 advert aimed squarely at the luxury angle of their brand—a fabulous Lake Como setting saw to that—but the slogan at the end opens the narrative out: ‘The World’s Favourite Italian Liqueur’.

Amaretto will probably always remain somewhat niche. But for Disaronno—pressing innovative marketing strategies to bring it as centre-stage as possible both as a luxury and widely-affordable drink—this can only be a good thing. It’s a chance to finish what they’ve already started, and what has worked so excellently for Guinness, Jack Daniel’s and Baileys. They can make ‘Disaronno’ the word for amaretto rather than a brand of amaretto.

To achieve this, though, they’ll have to work on becoming dominant in the minds of more consumers. You can bet we’ll be watching what happens in our next brand index and whether, as the summer approaches, they can succeed in winning more pub, barbeque, and bar-goers over to the Disaronno sour life.

If you would like to find out how you’re perceived by consumers far and wide, and what you could be doing more of to win bigger audiences, get in touch. From amassing market-wide insight, to targeting and honing in on your niche and brand image, our platform can ensure you have all the information to make the smartest choices going forwards.


Content Team 

Our in-house marketing team is always scouring the market for the next big thing. This piece has been lovingly crafted by one of our team members. Attest's platform makes gathering consumer data as simple and actionable as possible.

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