The brand is plugging the initiative with an ad from Wieden + Kennedy New York that shows a woman offering herself a beer after a sweaty run.

Ultra has long promoted low-calorie beer as a reward for athletic activities, dating back to when its commercials featured cyclist Lance Armstrong living in “Ultra Life,” before his downfall from doping. But in recent weeks, Ultra has been met on the jogging track by Molson Coors, who has made fitness-related fields a key part of his campaign for the new Coors Pure, a beer variety marketed as certified organic by the USDA. .

Chicago-based Molson Coors launched Pure last month with a marketing stunt that asked drinkers to go for a jog on their own beer-shaped route. The brew gave $ 15 Prepaid Mastercards to anyone who submitted a screenshot of their route captured through a running app. The campaign was called “Beer Run”, similar to Ultra’s. This was followed by commercials that erupted earlier this month from Droga5, featuring comedian Ali Wong as a talking beer, praising drinkers for engaging in common sporting activities such as biking or running. walk.

New fitness-inspired marketing from the country’s two biggest brewers uses the kind of work-reward tactics long deployed by beer brands. Remember the testosterone-fueled “Head for the Mountains of Busch” campaign decades ago that showed steer cowboys ending their days in a bar?

Brands these days need to be much more gender neutral and also feed off more modern hobbies including jogging and yoga. The cowboys are out; the cat-cow poses are in place.

Balance pleasure and well-being

Young people “really balance indulgence with health and wellness,” says Duane Stanford, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. “They are quite willing to go out and drink on a weekend night and then eat well the rest of the week. So they’re storing their calories … there’s an opportunity for beer companies to say, “ let me be the brand you go for ”, but we’re also going to give you an achievable indulgence because we let’s cut calories. , cut the carbs and give yourself some flavor.

There is another trend behind the new beer campaigns – the need to meet people where they are: with bars still slowly reopening amid the pandemic, ongoing programs are a way to shift experiential marketing from the outside. indoor water points to the outside.

“As the world begins to safely reopen, Michelob Ultra’s Beer Race is eagerly waiting for people to be active together and reward them for doing so with a refreshing beer after a run or workout,” Ricardo said. Marques, vice president of marketing for Ultra, in a statement. .

Another goal of the new campaign is to boost AB InBev’s loyalty program. To get the $ 5 prepaid cards, attendees must sign up for the brewer’s “MyCooler” app, which debuted in early 2020 and allows consumers to win freebies in exchange for their consent to be. the brewer uses his personal information for electronic product targeting and marketing. The brewer has increasingly plugged the app into its marketing, including as a vehicle to enter Bud Light’s “Summery Stimmy,” which is handing out some $ 10 million in prizes, including sports tickets.

Brewer is one of a multitude of marketers who are placing more emphasis on these types of loyalty programs for a cookie-free future in which first-party data becomes increasingly important.

Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of direct-to-consumer marketing for AB InBev, in a statement to Ad Age, said MyCooler was “built around the idea that consumers are looking to interact with content, merchandise and commerce. electronics across our brand portfolio. . Through this program, we build deep connections between consumers and our brands by delivering personalized content and unique and compelling experiences and products. “

EJ Schultz written for Crain’s sister publication, Ad Age.

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