Dear Millennial: It's Time to Break Up with Your Beer Can

Glass Packaging Institute Wants Millennials to 'Upgrade to Glass'

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Sure, glass may be less convenient than paper, plastic or aluminum -- and it breaks. But the Glass Packaging Institute wants to change some of those perceptions about glass containers, and to do so it is targeting millennials with a new campaign called "Upgrade to Glass."

The digital campaign, which launched Thursday, features a series of videos in which users are urged to "break up" with their beer cans, red plastic cups and wine boxes, and upgrade to glass containers.

"We wanted to reach millennials and really get them thinking about what kinds of containers they're buying their favorite beer, wine or soda in, because it matters," said Lynn Bragg, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, a trade association representing glass manufacturers. "Not only does glass look great for beverages like beer, but beverages taste better in glass, it keeps beverages cooler, and it's a sustainable packaging choice."

She acknowledged that there are challenges in trying to change millennials' perceptions about glass. "Yes, glass does break, but it's also 50% lighter than it was 20 to 25 years ago," Ms. Bragg said. "Because of the influx of other packaging options, especially in the '80s and '90s, millennials haven't had as much exposure to glass. We want to reacquaint them with a packaging material that is cool, that is trendy, that has good health benefits, and is made from natural materials."

GPI turned to Porter Novelli and Picture Farm Productions to produce the digital campaign, which includes online videos and a website at UpgradetoGlass.com.

The videos, which are cast as breakup letters to a beer can, red plastic cup and wine box, feature millennial moments that call for an upgrade -- crushed beer cans lying on the coffee table amid half-eaten pizza; red plastic cups scattered on the grass next to a passed-out partier; and a box labeled "Good Wine" dripping red wine into the refrigerator.

In the videos, millennial consumers break up with each container and say they are moving on to glass.

In "Bye Bye Beer Can," a female narrator says to her beer can, "Full disclosure, can. I've started hanging out with beer bottles." As she opens the refrigerator and reaches for a beer in a sparkling green bottle, she says, "They're sophisticated and beautiful, and have a certain gravitas that's super-attractive."

In another video (below), called "Later, Plastic Cup," the narrator says to his red plastic cup, "I'm upping my life game, Red, and I need my beer to reflect that. I'm moving on…to bottles."

In a third video, "Sorry, Box of Wine," a female narrator tells her wine box, "We've had lots of good memories together…that Halloween when you were my costume and my drink of choice. But, I'm not that same girl anymore."

Ms. Bragg said the campaign is designed to tap into the life changes that millennials are going through, and use these as an opportunity to get them to move up to glass.

"Millennials are going through a transitional period and they are looking at upgrading their lifestyle," she said. "They may be moving from a shared apartment into their own apartment, or moving into a serious relationship, or possibly marriage. We want to have glass be a part of all those transitions."

She said Labor Day weekend was a good time to launch the campaign because, "It's a nice weekend where you can kind of say, sadly, goodbye to summer, and welcome the fall with a lot of opportunities to get together with friends and family."