Aperol brand strategy / positioning case study

Aperol Brand Strategy Analysis

FMCG Alcoholic beveragesvodka, gin and other spirits; alcopops

Owner of the brand:
Gruppo Campari (Campari Group)

Key competitors:

Brand essence

Italian aperitif promoting the joy of life.

Brand values

Joy, togetherness, heritage.

Brand character

Italian, joyful, fun, positive, carefree.

Dominating archetype

Aperol, along with Campari, Wild Turkey, Cinzano, Grand Marnier and SKYY Vodka is one of the globally recognized alcohol brands in Campari Group’s portfolio. The brand was founded in 1919 in Italy by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri. Back then, Aperol’s novelty was that its alcohol content was lower than that of other aperitifs – 11% rather than 15-25%.
Aperol’s recipe remains unchanged since its creation. To this day, it is a very well-kept secret which, similar to Campari, is accentuated in the brand’s communications. The Aperol brand was acquired by Campari Group in 2003 and has experienced a steady growth since then.


Aperol is classified as an aperitif (“the perfect aperitif”[1], according to the brand itself). Along with its relatively low alcohol content, two other key product differentiators are its bright orange colour and balanced, bittersweet taste coming from “the infusion of ingredients which include oranges, herbs and roots”[2].
Aperol’s brand strategy closely resembles that of its competitor, Martini, as it is based on the idea of the joy of life. Both Aperol and Martini want to be associated with social situations, when friends are enjoying each other’s company during the moment described as afternoon ‘aperitivo’. Even though it has been Martini’s strategy to own ‘the modern aperitivo’ occasion, which it has been attempting to establish as ‘Martini time’, Aperol has become more successful at achieving this in recent years thanks to the popularity of its Aperol Spritz drink.


The recipe for Aperol Spritz, consisting of Aperol, prosecco and soda water, was created in the 1950s but its global popularity began in the 2010s thanks to intense marketing efforts of the Campari Group. After acquiring the Aperol brand, the firm wanted to take advantage of the trend among increasingly health-conscious younger people to choose lighter and more natural drinks.[3] The company executives decided to focus the group’s marketing activities on promoting Aperol Spritz, as they believed that with its relatively lower alcohol content and natural origin, it had significant growth potential.[4] Additionally, the company wanted to build Aperol’s success on the rising popularity of prosecco.[5] The Aperol Spritz strategy was pursued first in Italy, followed by the UK, the US and the rest of the world. The main factor in the drink’s success is its visual attractiveness (‘sunshine in a glass’) and so-called ‘Instagrammability’. Dave Karraker, former VP Comms at Campari Group said: “It’s a beautiful color, and when you’re in the sun, it makes for a nice picture. A nice Chablis isn’t going to do that for you.[6]


By popularizing the Aperol Spritz cocktail, Campari Group has made Aperol even more commercially successful than Campari, its flagship brand. The way the company differentiates the two bitter aperitif brands within its portfolio is rooted in two main product differences: first, Campari’s higher alcohol content (between 20 and 30%, depending on the country) compared to Aperol’s 11%, and second, Campari’s more bitter taste. Campari builds an association with the colour red, Aperol with the colour orange. Campari primarily promotes itself as an ingredient in stronger cocktails (e.g., Negroni), Aperol mostly emphasizes its refreshing character in Aperol Spritz. According to Vinepair, “Aperol is, without doubt, the more approachable of the two, like a light, crushable lager tasted next to a craft beer with astronomical IBUs[7].


Aperol is a Jester brand promoting the idea of joy of life, positivity and time well spent with friends and family.

Most important campaigns

1. “Sounds Of Togetherness” (2020)

2. “Together We Joy” (2019)

3. “Aperol’s Summer Activation: The Big Spritz Social” (2018)

4. “Summer 2018” (2018)

5. “Legendary Bartender” (2015)

Official brand statement:

Aperol is about joy of life. Since 1919 Aperol is the perfect aperitif. Bright orange in color, it is low in alcohol content and it has a unique bittersweet taste deriving from a secret recipe that has remained unchanged since its creation. Aperol Spritz is the quintessential social signature drink that perfectly express the “Contagious joy of life” of the brand. Aperol Spritz is one of the most widely consumed cocktails in Italy that becomes a real global phenomenon.[8]

Interesting facts:

In the 1920s and 1930s, Aperol was positioned as a drink ‘for women and sportive people’ helping them stay ‘lean and fit’.[9]


1. Real Homes on Aperol’s interiors collection
M. Slack, “PSA: You Can Now Paint Your House The Same Color As An Aperol Spritz, Because Why Not”, Real Homes, Feb 2021,

2. Marketing Week on Aperol’s success in the UK
L. Tesseras, “Meet The Marketer Behind Aperol’s ‘Monster’ Growth”, Marketing Week, Jul 2018,

3. Vinepair on the difference between Campari and Aperol
T. McKirdy, “The Difference Between Campari And Aperol, Explained”, Vinepair, Jun 2018,

  1. https://www.aperol.com/en-gb/the-world-of-aperol/aperol-product-credentials
  2. Ibid.
  3. P. Aversa, “Campari’s Repositioning Of Its Aperol Brand”, The Financial Times, Sep 2013, https://www.ft.com/content/7fba1624-14bf-11e3-b3db-00144feabdc0
  4. Ibid.
  5. L. Tesseras, “Meet The Marketer Behind Aperol’s ‘Monster’ Growth”, Marketing Week, Jul 2018, https://www.marketingweek.com/aperol-monster-growth/
  6. S. Pathak, “How Instagram-Friendly Aperol Spritz Became The Drink Of The Summer”, Digiday, Jun 2017, https://digiday.com/marketing/instagram-friendly-aperol-spritz-became-drink-summer/
  7. T. McKirdy, “The Difference Between Campari And Aperol, Explained”, Vinepair, Jun 2018, https://vinepair.com/articles/difference-between-aperol-campari/
  8. https://www.camparigroup.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Campari%20Group%20Corporate%20Presentation%202020_new.pdf 
  9. N. Hines, “Everything You Need To Know About the Aperol Spritz”, Vinepair, Apr 2017, https://vinepair.com/articles/history-aperol-spritz/

Want to hear more?

Sign up here for our weekly

BrandStruck Express News.

Check the newly added brand strategy case studies and get our latest blog post.