Make Mine a Negroni Sbagliato

December 19, 2022

Move over mulled wine, prosecco – you’ve been overshadowed: there’s only one must-have drink this festive season, the Negroni Sbagliato. And you’ve got TikTok to thank/blame for the morning-after headache from this dangerously drinkable cocktail. 

Head into a bar this winter and you’re likely to find a hastily added new must-have drink on their cocktail menu: a Negroni Sbagliato

Rumored to be a happy accident created by a bartender who might just have had one too many, the now infamous drink combines gin, sweet vermouth, campari and prosecco to make Aperol Spritz’s mildly bitter cousin. 

How long did it take for this accidental creation of yesteryear to become the new must-have drink? About 8 seconds. 

Trends driven by word of mouth have always been a part of consumer marketing. Social endorsement is a powerful force, delivering five times more sales than paid and converting into $6 trillion in annual global sales

Social media king-sized that process, allowing trends to take off and reach unprecedented numbers of people in record time. But with its bite-sized, unpolished clips that often hero the comically mundane, TikTok has accelerated the speed and power of trends. 

The Negroni Sbagliato trend started with an interview between House of the Dragon stars Emma D’Arcy And Olivia Cooke on the HBO TikTok channel. In answer to a pretty run-of-the-mill question about their go-to drink, D’Arcy replied “A Negroni… sbagliato… with prosecco in it”. 

The 8-second clip has now racked up over 2.2 million views, 12,000 comments and more than 80,000 spin-off videos. It went viral so rapidly that the HBO Max TikTok account has now changed their caption to “Negronis anyone?”. 

What makes TikTok so interesting and potentially valuable for brands is that going viral on the platform does translate into attention and success in the real world. The viral video led to a huge uptick in Google searches for “Negroni Sbagliato”, with campari reporting a sales increase of almost 20% and one alcohol delivery service reported a 40% increase in orders of both prosecco and Campari in the weekend following the video. 

Unpicking what makes something go viral is notoriously difficult. If there were a magic formula, brands around the world would be paying top dollar to ensure instant success. 

There are a few lessons that all brands can take away from this runaway viral success.  

The Unexpected 

Tightly controlled and over rehearsed, the 1:1 interview format has lost its shine over the past few years. With pre-approved questions carefully screened by cautious PR teams, they rarely deliver the Big Bang they promise. The question in the HBO interview followed this generic pattern, but Emma D’Arcy’s answer felt off-the cuff, unrehearsed and genuinely enthusiastic – it was refreshingly unexpected. 


It was also a drink that few of us had heard of before. In a world where keeping up with the Jones’s spans the globe not just your neighborhood, being out of the loop isn’t an option. It’s also unnecessary – anyone can be an instant expert with Google, and that’s exactly where everyone rushed to fill this important cocktail knowledge gap. 


The knowing, “guilty pleasure” smile that D’Arcy gives as they lean in and shares their love for this formerly niche cocktail comes across with real, cheeky, relatable authenticity. It’s what we always want from celebs who seem so far away on Planet Fame – a moment of candid humanity, feeling for just a moment that we know that person behind the character on screen, picturing what it would be like to walk up to the bar and order a round for the group. Real authenticity creates a magnetic charisma that’s impossible to scroll past. 

Sound byte-able 

Both D’Arcy’s answer and Cooke’s now also viral “ooo stunning” response have taken on a life of their own. The ability to duet with other creators, easily overlay sounds, and quickly see what’s trending and use it in your own content is part of TikTok’s success. Great content gets a second, third, fourth life as sound bytes that apply to a wide range of scenarios and increase the new and original clip’s reach exponentially. It’s how this quick clip has mushroomed into almost 100,000 spin-offs, widening its audience and impact each time.  

Sex appeal 

A niche bitter cocktail has rarely sounded so sexy. D’Arcy’s husky voice and conspiratorial “I won’t tell if you won’t” tone left TikTok collectively hot under the collar. Played over and over again, there was a general consensus that aside from House of Dragons, D’Arcy should really consider a career in distinctly non-family friendly audiobooks. Identifying as non-binary, there’s a sexiness to the video that feels contemporary and empowering. Emma D’Arcy might have just been sharing her drinks of choice, but they were also making sexy modern. 

The CMO of Italian Campari Group, Julka Villa, sums it up perfectly: “Never was a person more straightforward, clear, and inviting. That is the power of virality”.

Figuring out how to find your content niche on social media or getting to grips with newer platforms like TikTok can be daunting and time consuming for growing businesses with small teams. 

From femtech to craft pizza, we help brands define their voice and tell their story in a way that’s irresistible to their customers – existing and future. 

Get in touch with the team to find out more about how Bodhi & Co can help your company stand out on social before we all head out for a Negroni Sbagliato or two over the festive season. 

Author Headshot

Roanna Lynch

A creative copywriter who really gets the context and company behind the campaign, Roanna helps brands express themselves in a way that’s memorable to the audiences that matter most.

Say Hello. Let's talk.

Email us to set up a chat, jump on a video call or pop by and see us.