WPP's Cavalry is back in the beer business after picking up a new assignment for Corona. The former MillerCoors agency will handle a new low-calorie, low-carbohydrate line extension called Corona Premier that will be positioned to take on hot-selling Michelob Ultra.
A spokesman for Corona-owner Constellation Brands confirmed Cavalry's selection in an email. The line extension will be tested in a handful of unidentified markets next year. "Consumers are craving lower calorie, lower carb options, and Corona Premier will allow us to extend our offering and better meet these consumers' needs," the spokesman said. "We're leveraging the equity of the Corona brand to explore this opportunity through several small tests next year." Constellation has not revealed marketing plans.
Calvary's win means Constellation continues to spread Corona work around to multiple agencies.
Constellation announced the line extension last week at meeting in New York City for institutional investors. Corona Premier will take all the qualities that "consumers tell us they like about Mich Ultra" which are "full strength alcohol, low carbs, low calories, and not too much taste," Constellation's beer division chief, Paul Hetterich, said at the meeting, according to a report by Beer Business Daily. But the marketer will be careful to do "a lot of measuring on cannibalization," he said, checking how it impacts Corona Light and Extra, Beer Business Daily reported.
Michelob Ultra, which is owned by Anheuser Busch InBev, is one of the fastest-growing brands in beer. U.S. sales surged nearly 24% in the 52-weeks ending on Sept. 4 to $1.3 billion, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales. MillerCoors earlier this year had considered launching its own Mich Ultra competitor called Goldwing, but the brewer recently put the brakes on the new brand, saying it wanted to focus on Coors Light and Miller Lite.
Chicago-based Cavalry lost the MillerCoors business in August of 2015, three years after WPP established the shop to service Coors brands and several newer MillerCoors brands including Redd's and Smith & Forge. Coors is now handled by 72andSunny, while Mekanism handles Redd's, Smith & Forge and Henry's Hard Soda.
Cavalry's other clients include R.J. Reynolds, Tyson Foods and the American Freedom Foundation.