New Coors Light Campaign Has Women Drinkers in Mind

'Climb On' Is the First Campaign for Brand Under 72andSunny

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Credit: MillerCoors

Coors Light is sharpening its pitch to female beer drinkers in a new campaign launching this weekend called "Climb On."

In a memo issued to distributors today, MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll referred to the effort as a "dual-gender campaign" that will "encourage men and women to celebrate the mountains they climb with a cold, refreshing Coors Light." He added that "women drink more than 17 billion beers a year, about a quarter of the industry's total volume, and Coors Light will work hard to attract women as loyal drinkers."

The campaign is the first work created for the brand by 72andSunny, which took on lead creative and digital agency duties for Coors brands in late September. MillerCoors put Coors brands into review in early August after cutting ties with WPP's Cavalry of Chicago.

Coors Light had been running a campaign called "Born in the Rockies" that featured snow-covered mountains and barely any people at all.

The first ad under the new campaign is called "Whatever Your Mountain." The spot begins with a mountaintop shot but then quickly transitions into scenes of people partaking in intense athletic and outdoor activities, according to a rough cut of the ad shared by the brewer with Ad Age. One scene shows a woman running in an outdoor obstacle course, while another shows a female in what appears to be a difficult yoga pose. Males appear in plenty of scenes in the ad, too, including a boxing match and rodeo. The spot also weaves in several product shots, like closeups of ingredients and beer flowing.

"The fact that Coors Light is cold lagered, cold filtered and cold packaged to deliver Rocky Mountain cold refreshment will continue to be core to the brand's story," Mr. Kroll said in the memo. "But through 'Climb On,' Coors Light will make a stronger emotional connection with beer drinkers who know that climbing our personal mountains is what makes life enjoyable."

The media buy includes ESPN's broadcast of the "Winter X Games" on Sunday, as well as the Feb. 14 NBA All-Star Game on TNT.

Coors Light is the largest beer in the MillerCoors portfolio and the second largest beer in the U.S, behind Bud Light. But like most big beer brands, the so-called Silver Bullet has struggled to post positive sales growth in recent years. The brand's shipments fell by 3.3% in 2014, the latest full-year data available from Beer Marketer's Insights. Coors Light grew sales by 1.8% in the 2015 calendar-year-to-date ending Dec. 27, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales. But the brand lost 0.22 share points.

This is a critical year for Coors Light and Bud Light, which is also launching a new campaign. Both beers have lost ground amid the craft beer boom of the last few years. The comeback strategy for both brands appears to involve marketing that targets a broader audience than millennial males, which had been the core target in recent years.

In the memo, Mr. Kroll stressed that the "new positioning transcends age, ethnicity and gender. It will resonate with millennials, as well as the 35- to 44-year-old drinkers who remain an important part of Coors Light's consumer base." Similarly, Bud Light -- through a forthcoming campaign starring Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen -- is targeting a broader age group.

Mr. Kroll stated that the Coors Light TV campaign "will continue to unfold in the coming months with a wide range of spots that tell the story of the personal mountains our consumers climb and the values they share with Coors Light -- an adventurous, independent and resilient spirit; a commitment to doing things the right way; and a desire to enjoy the journey and celebrate their achievements."

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