Sober October email marketing: campaign inspiration and examples

Post by
Mehdi Boufous
Sober October email marketing: campaign inspiration and examples

We are almost down to the last quarter of the year. The months of October, November, and December are the home for big marketing events - Halloween, Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Day, Yuletide Season, preparation for New Year, and a lot more. Sounds exciting, isn’t it?  

Whether you will just start creating your marketing plan or you are already in the process of revision and making improvements, we are here to help add up to your amazing list. The point is, there are so many opportunities for creative and meaningful marketing that will help you to authenticate your brand voice and stand out. And the goal is to make every marketing move count.

We are fast approaching October and in the whole month, we celebrate the so-called “Sober October” which is actually a challenge to social drinkers to change their habits for a month and make some healthy lifestyle changes. It is a widespread trend in which thousands of people stop drinking, using drugs, and smoking for the 31 days of October. This 18+ fundraising campaign is aimed to support cancer patients and is observed in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and many other parts of the world.

Today, we’re here for two things: first, to inspire you to add Sober October to your marketing calendar, and second, to provide you with good examples of email marketing curated from some popular brands to serve as inspiration. We were able to keep track of these marketing emails with the help of the latest eCommerce benchmarking tool Panoramata.

Key points here:

  1. Incentivize your audience to participate in a challenge 
  2. Take great opportunity to offer your products
  3. Encourage customers to stock up on your product
  4. Showcase what your products are made of
  5. Collaborate with another brand to team up with your products

Incentivize your audience to participate in a challenge 

Ditch the drink 

Sent by Moment

Moment is a beverage brand that offers sparkling drinks in a variety of flavors. In this email marketing campaign, they took advantage of the upcoming month (October) to offer their 36-pack bundle and they also gave a 10% off and free shipping. 

Given that Sober October is a kind of challenge, they cheered up their audience to participate by posting a selfie with their Moment product on Instagram. Of course, they need to tag the brand and once they win, they’ll be given a free gift box. What’s inside the gift box was not mentioned nor any hint, but it’s a good way to create excitement and an element of surprise. 

Instagram challenges like this allow users to engage in collective trends. Businesses have adapted it to grow their followings, increase sales, brand impressions, and generate UGC (user-generated content).

Take great opportunity to offer your products

Going sober this October? 🚫🍺

Sent by Goodrays

Goodrays is a UK Online Shop where you can find CBD drinks, oils, and edibles. A few weeks before October last year, they sent out an email newsletter to their subscribers with an engaging subject line “Going sober this October?”. As we know, a lot of people would love to take on the challenge. With this in mind, people would think of alternative drinks during this period. So it is a good opportunity for non-alcoholic beverage and wellness brands like Goodrays to present more of their products to the consumers. 

Let’s take a look at their email campaign (as above). The copy is short and simple yet it covers the basic and major points that consumers would need at this point:

  1. the banner text in bold letters GO SOBER THIS OCTOBER implies an encouraging message 
  2. they enumerated some of the benefits of going sober for a month 
  3. and most importantly, they offered a great alternative to alcohol that helps you get the benefits mentioned earlier, that is, their products. 

To complete the offer, they placed a high-contrast (aligned with their branding color) CTA button that redirects the audience to their full range of products on their website. Just everything you need to know and to click in a simple presentation that does not take so much of your time. 

Encourage customers to stock up on your product

Ready for Sober October? 🎃

Sent by Surely

Surely is also one of the brands that could benefit from the Sober October thing since it sells non-alcoholic wines. Non-alcoholic drink is always approved for Sober October, so let’s get it on!

Surely created quite a buzz last year for the observance of Sober October with their 20% off plus free shipping deal. It was done to encourage their customers to stock up their fridges before the deal is over (which only covered 5 days of September). Since there is a lot of choice of drinks from other non-alcoholic brands, it’s an effective way to be more generous by offering discounts and free shipping, if possible. Just like what they did. The point is, the competition is stiff so you need to be creative, generous, and consistent in your marketing efforts to win customers.

Let's dissect the email copy they’ve got above. First, there was the subject line “Ready for Sober October? 🎃” which directly asks the audience whether they’re ready or not, whether they’re well-prepared or still missing out on anything. Question statements are almost always engaging, so it’s great.

Next, the banner image and texts that almost say it all:


  1. What to do and for what (Stock up for SOBER OCTOBER)
  2. What discount code to use
  3. What are they getting (20% off with purchase of 2+ wines, and free shipping)
  4. Big and obvious CTA early on (TRY YOUR FIRST SIP)

The copy continues telling the dates/days covered for the sale. This creates a sense of urgency. 

Then a CTA again at the second block of email copy.

Not yet compelled to click? The third block goes with one featured review from a customer, followed by another CTA that is also difficult to overlook. You can also click a specific portion to read more reviews should you want more proof.

Finally on the 4th block comes their product recommendation to help customers decide which wine to choose. At this point, maybe they’ve already got a decision to buy but it would really be helpful if they could see some best-sellers. Alternatively, they could take a wine quiz with just a few clicks.

20% off (+ free shipping)

Sent by Surely

Gone in a few hours

Sent by Surely

Just like other sales, you can send reminders during the last days and last hours to make sure that your audience won’t miss out on this opportunity, especially if the sale happens only once a year or very seldom.

Showcase what your products are made of

Pear, Miso, and More.🍐🍂

Sent by Acid League

Acid League is a brand that offers not just beverages but also pantry essentials, condiments and flavors for cooking.

Yes, the drinks they offer for Sober October are of course, without the alcohol content. But to make it more obvious, they presented it in their email in such a way that each bottle was given enough description in terms of the ingredients they’re made of. It created imagination of how they taste, thus craving their audience. Plus it gave peace of mind to consumers to know the exact composition of the product.

Collaborate with another brand to team up with your product

Cali Sober October with Optimist Drinks

Sent by Prismatic Plants

Prismatic Plants is a health and wellness brand that is known for its plant-based CBD tinctures and hemp oil for stress relief. Since they do not have any beverage products, they teamed up with the brand called Optimist Drinks, a Los Angeles-based company that is popular for its non-alcoholic drinks. 

The collaboration made it possible for Prismatic Plants to still participate in the Sober October campaign. They presented a relevant team-up of Optimist Drinks’ products with their very own products using a blended recipe where they showed the ingredients and instructions on how to create the mixtures.

Brand collaboration can be used in many different ways and is always a win-win for both parties, as well as for the customers.

More to come for your October marketing so just hang around!