When it comes to marketing, Constellation Brands has one big advantage over its big brewer rivals: its brands, which include Corona and Modelo, continue to enjoy strong growth, meaning more money can be plowed back into advertising without denting the bottom line.
"We've been able to invest year-on-year more and more every single year because of our growth," said Jim Sabia, chief marketing officer for the beer division at Constellation Brands. Without revealing specific figures, he estimated the marketer would continue its pace of increasing media spend by a double-digit percentage in 2017.
While the beer category has struggled to eke out even the smallest growth, Constellation continues to overperform. The company has projected that its beer business will achieve net sales growth of 16%-17% for the fiscal year that ended Feb. 28, according to its third quarter earnings report. Its biggest brand, Corona, grew sales-to-retailer volume by 5.4% in calendar year 2016, while Modelo Especial surged 18.4%, according to Constellation.
Here is a quick glimpse of how Constellation plans to spend its ad money in 2017, according to a preview Mr. Sabia recently gave Ad Age:
The brew will continue its long-running "Find Your Beach" campaign with a slightly new twist that takes some inspiration from an unlikely place -- the holiday movie classic, "It's a Wonderful Life" and its iconic line that "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings." In Corona's version, a "Corona gets its lime" every time the situation calls for a beer, like when someone decides that "a Tuesday should feel like a Saturday." Here is one of the new spots by Cramer-Krasselt:
New ads by Ogilvy will continue the "Light Cerveza" campaign that debuted in 2015.
Ogilvy is also behind Modelo's newest ads, which tout the beer as "brewed with a fighting spirit." One ad spotlights immigrant veteran Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, noting that he wasn't born in the U.S., but "that fact never once crossed his mind the four times he put himself in harm's way to save the men who were." While it seems like the ad might be making a subtle political statement, Mr. Sabia said that was not the intent. "The objective is to celebrate a war hero," he said.
Constellation will continue to pour more money behind the brew, which got more aggressive last year targeting its TV media buy on 11 western states. The brand will add Texas to its media mix this year in preparation for taking its TV ads national in 2018, Mr. Sabia said. "We believe this is our next big brand," he said. New ads by Cramer-Krasselt position the brew as the "spirit of the Baja."
The brew will continue its Spanish-language campaign by The Community that shows a white man who is hanging out with Mexican friends and trying very hard to fit in.