In Atlanta, this Bud’s for Big Boi, who is now fronting 25-ounce cans of the brew. And in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Nashville and Tampa, Coors Light drinkers are about to get a heavy dose of the Jonas Brothers, whose faces will soon appear on six-packs.
The limited-edition packaging plays are the latest attempt by the two big beer brands to remain culturally relevant as more drinkers turn to other alcohol options, like hard seltzer, craft beers and cocktails.
Putting music stars on beverage packaging is hardly revolutionary. Pepsi, for instance, has made a habit out of it. The cola last year put Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Britney Spears on cans, marking a return for Jackson, who also appeared on a special-edition can in 2012.
But for big beer brands, it’s a relatively new tactic. “It’s happening more in the beer space, especially on those macro-level brands—Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light,” says Mark Gallo, a former employee of Anheuser-Busch and Heineken who now works for Nor-Cal Beverage Co., an independent contract co-packer for beverage brands. The big beer brands have “maxed out their awareness,” he says. So they must do more to stand out on shelves next to “those highly captive craft beer cans that are always changing,” he says.
But brands must be careful to avoid oversaturation of special-edition packaging. “Scarcity drives demand for more,” says Coors Light marketing director Chris Steele. “If we would do this all the time, it wouldn’t be special.”