Four Loko teases ‘the hardest seltzer in the universe’: Marketer’s Brief
Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to [email protected].
One of the factors driving hard-seltzer popularity, experts say, is that they are “sessionable,” meaning their relatively low alcohol content is conducive to all-day drinking. But several brands are now testing that thesis with seltzers whose ABV clocks in well ahead of the average light beer. Last week Natural Light unveiled an economy-priced seltzer at 6 percent ABV, which seems aimed at the college drinking crowd. Now, Four Loko, the king of high-octane beverages, is poised to launch a seltzer that checks in at a staggering 14 percent ABV. The brand in a tweet on Tuesday teased a “Sour Seltzer with a hint of Blue Razz,” whose package boasts that it is “the hardest seltzer in the universe.” Day-drink that and you’ll be lucky to make it to sunset.
Macy’s rental play
Macy’s is following the crowd by dipping a toe into the clothing-rental game. Last week, the retailer announced its upscale Bloomingdale’s chain is debuting a rental subscription service called My List. On an earnings call with analysts Wednesday, Macy’s Inc. CEO Jeff Gennette said that Macy’s plans to use My List, which has been in development for 18 months, as a test to “inform the development of a similar rental service at Macy’s in the future.”
Macy’s is in good company—startups like Rent the Runway and Armoire, along with established companies like Urban Outfitters, are taking advantage of the growing trend, in which shoppers keep an ever-rotating closet of fashion they rent for limited time periods. “When you look at acquisition, re-commerce and rental is at the heart of that,” said Gennette, noting that customers are drawn to the sustainability and fresh content of a rental service. Macy’s is also dabbling in the second-hand market through a new partnership with resale website ThredUp that will sell in 40 Macy’s locations in time for back-to-school season.
A lifetime of Olive Garden
Olive Garden’s “Never Ending Pasta Pass” is truly never ending, for some. The Darden Restaurants Inc. chain is selling the passes for the fifth year, offering unlimited pasta for nine weeks this year, one week longer than before. This year, along with 24,000 pasta passes (each $100 plus tax) it’s also offering a “Lifetime Pasta Pass” to the first 50 people who opt-in and agree to pay an additional $400. So, what does $500 plus tax buy? A lot of pasta, plus soup or salad and breadsticks. According to Olive Garden, the pass will be paid off, on average, once someone has hit the 45th bowl. The passes go on sale Thursday afternoon at www.PastaPass.com.
Rice Krispies Treats latest love notes
Rice Krispies Treats packs have had a heart-shaped blank space for parents to write notes to kids for a couple of years. Last year, Braille stickers for the packs with phrases such as “love you lots” were introduced. Now, as the school year begins, the Kellogg Co. brand has teamed up with Autism Speaks for sensory stickers with soft, smooth and bumpy textures that include fleece, faux fur, satin and velour. "This cause is very dear to me as a mom of a child with autism,” Kris Bahner, senior VP of global corporate affairs at Kellogg, said in a statement. “I know firsthand that love and emotions aren't always easy for children on the spectrum to express and receive—but they need to feel it and share it as much as any other child."
Ok, Chipotle’s registers might not actually make that sound. But there’s extra cash in the pockets of more than 2,600 Chipotle employees, who qualified to earn up to an extra week of pay under the company’s new crew bonus program. The bonuses are awarded when restaurant teams hit criteria such as quarterly sales and cashflow. Staffers can earn up to an extra month’s pay each year, Chipotle says. The perk, for which employees are eligible after working for a full quarter, is a way for Chipotle to keep its workers happy, which in turn can help Chipotle reduce staff turnover and improve service.
Pizza pedal partnership
Domino’s announced a deal with Rad Power for specialized delivery e-bikes, the latest version of its plan to dominate delivery however possible. The bikes can hit a top assisted speed of 20 mph and can run for 25 to 40 miles before needing a recharge. The customized machines feature insulated storage areas on the front and back that can hold up to 12 large pizzas at a time.
Busch spoof brewing
Busch is back with its spoof “Busch Latte” campaign in time for pumpkin-spice season. The brew, which first began having fun with the seasonal craze last year, has made a video to support limited-edition cans that carry the name Busch Latte. Sold in 30-packs in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, the cans contain regular old Busch beer.
Would you buy this?
Number of the week
45: percentage of people who say they spend the same or more on health care for their pets as they spend on their own health care, according to a recent survey by financial company LendEDU.
Tweet of the week
Comings and goings
Tyson Foods Inc. named Chief Marketing Officer Noelle O’Mara to lead its prepared foods business, replacing Sally Grimes, who previously said she plans to leave the company. O’Mara, who joined Tyson as VP, new business models, in 2016 after 13 years at Kraft Heinz, was named CMO earlier this year. She will retain CMO duties on an interim basis, Tyson said.
Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz