A New Alcohol-Free Beverage Startup Wants You to Party Like It’s 2020

Kin hawks its 'nightlife beverages' as part of the spiritless cocktail trend

Kin is helping people trip the light sober. Kin
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

Choose these libations with names like Dream Light and High Rhode for an evening of “clear conversation” and “conscious connection” that you’ll fully remember tomorrow. Wait, you call this a party?

Indeed, the Kin brand is hawking its “nightlife beverages” with exactly this pitch, deliberately a world away from the Mad Men era of lampshades-on-heads soirees and about as far as you can get from the liquored-up rock-and-roll-style bashes of previous decades. 

And it’s right in line with the Cali sober, spiritless cocktail trend, which is growing quickly in major metro areas in the U.S. and U.K., dovetailing nicely with the resolution-heavy start of the year.

Kin, which markets “functional non-alcoholic beverages” that combine adaptogens, nootropics and botanics, takes its message seriously but has some fun with its new campaign, the most extensive marketing yet from the direct-to-consumer company that debuted in 2018.

Highly stylized with saturated color, disco fashion and a groovy level of celebration, the videos use a voiceover straight out of a vintage newsreel. The spots aim to “reclaim the visual language of alcohol advertising from the past and turn it on its head” and introduce “the euphoric movement,” according to the brand.

The tagline, “Kin, Kin!” is a play on an Italian toast, “Cin, cin!” which means, “Here we go,” or, “To your health.”

Outdoor ads use illustrations, which are based on the brand’s fans, with a similar throwback feel.

Jen Batchelor, Kin’s co-founder and CEO, says the goal is to “create a visual manifestation of how it feels to revel in this new way — to be free and planted at the same time — and capture the power and joy someone can feel when they take back their agency and party without regrets.”

Targeted squarely at millennials and Gen Z, agency RoAndCo Studio leans into the audience’s penchant for “the whimsical and nostalgic,” along with a “fierce commitment to progress and innovation,” Batchelor says.

“The narrative, inspired by old British Pathe newsreels, speaks to Kin’s benefits of consciously connecting and taking back your morning after,” says Nikki Huffman, RoAndCo’s associate creative director.

The drinks themselves are designed “to provide a blissful buzz and elevate social experiences at the bar.” Plus, no hangover! (There are several products in the line, each with its own vibe, according to the brand).

Kin says it’s not necessarily positioning itself as an alternative to alcohol, but opening up “a new category altogether.” The brand leans into what execs call its stress-busting, calming attributes. Ingredients like turmeric, ginger, citrus, herbs, hibiscus and natural and man-made compounds are supposed to benefit your brain and work on your neurochemistry. Among its offerings, Dream Light is a “nightcap” that promotes sleep, High Rhode is for mellowing you out, and Kin Spritz is a pre-made on-the-go elixir.

The campaign will include Kin’s first-ever billboards in hipster neighborhoods around Los Angeles like Venice and West Hollywood, wild postings in more than 40 locations, direct mail, influencer and on-site marketing at specialty shops and events at the Kin Clubhouse in WeHo (described as “an experimental space for people of all paths to create and connect under one roof”).

The video series will fan out over digital and social.

The startup, based in Brooklyn, joins alcohol-free drinks like Seedlip, Ritual Zero Proof and others that mean to liven up and modernize the booze-free experience, which used to be limited mostly to uninspired soda and seltzer water for designated drivers. 

Kin’s early runs sold out quickly, and it’s now available at bars and restaurants (the swank kind) in L.A., New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco and specialty stores like Alfred Coffee Shop, Calmist and Erewhon.

CREDITS:

Creative Director: Jen Batchelor (CEO, Kin)
Creative Direction: RoAndCo, Natalee Ranii-Dropcho
Film Director: Alice Rosati
Illustrator: Robert Beatty


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@TLStanleyLA terry.stanley@adweek.com T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.
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