The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
Lowdown: Budweiser Brews Non-Alcoholic Version
Budweiser is introducing a buzz-free version in Canada. The new non-alcoholic beer is called Budweiser Prohibition Brew. It could enter other countries, including the U.S. "Budweiser Prohibition Brew is only available in Canada for now, but we're excited by the prospect that it could eventually be offered in the U.S., the birthplace of Budweiser, sometime in the future," said Ricardo Marques, VP for Bud in the U.S.
The beer "leverages the latest de-alcoholization technology to create a beer that has 0.0% alcohol by volume and yet delivers the great taste of Budweiser," according to Budweiser Canada. It is "an ideal choice for a work lunch or casual afternoon with friends, as well as designated drivers and people with active lifestyles," said Kyle Norrington, vice president, marketing for Labatt, which is the Canadian division of Anheuser-Busch InBev. In the U.S., A-B InBev currently markets the non-alcoholic O'Doul's brand.
In other brew news, Heineken keeps kicking marketing money into soccer. The brewer's latest play involves sponsoring the International Champions Cup, a pre-season soccer tournament that brings top soccer clubs to the U.S. The deal is with Relevent Sports, which organizes the event. It runs from July 23 through Aug. 13, featuring 15 matches across the U.S. and Europe. Heineken also struck a deal with ESPN that will "extend Heineken's presenting sponsor position across all ESPN broadcasts of ICC matches," according to a statement.
Apparently there are few better ways to celebrate American freedom than drinking alcohol. That is the message being sent by spirits and beer brands that continue to unveil limited-edition patriotic packaging for the summer. Budweiser got a ton of attention with its "America" rebrand, while Burnett's Vodka launched a "USA Party Edition." Now comes Smirnoff, which is coming out with a version called Red, White & Berry. The Diageo brand describes it as "the newest offering to celebrate freedom and bring everyone together under one party." The limited edition vodka combines cherry, citrus and blue raspberry flavors.
Meanwhile, MillerCoors-owned Keystone Light is promoting a "Stone Spangled Summer" program that includes patriotic packaging. Inside 30-packs drinkers will find amendments for the "Keystitution," which a MillerCoors spokesman described as a "written document dedicated to saluting the 'Stone this summer."
With a name like Bootie Babe in bottles shaped like buttocks, the nail lacquer brand just has to be about good taste. So it may come as no surprise that parent SuperBooty LLC is launching a new shade named Donald Rump inspired by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's "burnt orange" skin tone. It goes on sale officially June 1, available through Election Day Nov. 8. Lawyers for Mr. Trump have not yet been in touch, a spokesman said.
The actual Elizabeth Arden died in 1966, around five decades after she founded her company. Now Elizabeth Arden the brand is bringing her back – sort of – in a new digital video campaign, "From the Desk of Liz Arden." For obvious reasons, Ms. Arden remains "behind the scenes" in the campaign, but her desk and nameplate are there. Among the notables visiting the desk are comedian Chelsea Handler, who is summoned by a somewhat ghostly text invitation from beyond. "Elizabeth Arden started her business as a dedicated advocate and as an innovative trailblazer," said JuE Wong, president-Elizabeth Arden brand, in a statement. The campaign, she said, "is a unique opportunity to communicate our inspirational – and ahead of its time – brand heritage," while also "showcasing that it's a new day for the brand and a new voice for Liz."
Freshii, a chain focused on healthier fare, found a new way to promote itself to potential franchisees without taking a big bite out of its budget. Founder-CEO Matthew Corrin posted an open letter on Medium this month, "From Froyo to Freshii" aimed at franchisees with failing frozen yogurt shops or juice bars looking for a new concept. In the letter, Mr. Corrin said Freshii would waive its franchise fee for qualifying partners. Typically, a Freshii franchise costs $30,000, according to the company's web site.
The offer has started to generate some buzz, both positive and negative. Freshii said it has heard from some franchisees running frozen yogurt shops who are seeking more information about the brand and the conversion process. Freshii, which sells frozen yogurt and juice in many locations alongside salads, quinoa bowls and other items, said people from as far away as South Africa have written to point out frozen yogurt or juice shops near them that are not doing well or that recently closed. Still, while the number of shops focused on frozen yogurt might be dwindling in parts of the country, there is continued demand. Frozen yogurt franchisor Menchie's defended its business in a story from Franchise Times. Menchie's did not respond to Ad Age's questions by press time.
Three months after winning the business of Spartanburg, S.C.-based Advance America, a payment advance firm, Zimmerman Agency is rolling out its first work. The campaign "Power On" taps into the idea that not everyone can wait for payday to fix issues like home floods or broken appliances. It's more lighthearted marketing for a brand that hasn't always received favorable press, and is often marred by criticism of predatory lending practices. Erwin Penland had been Advance America's AOR since 2002. Here's a look at the first 30-second spot:
This week, Reebok released a new effort starring football player JJ Watt, whose new sportswear collection will hit stores this summer. The "Hunt Greatness" message, part of Reebok's underlying campaign to "Be More Human," will include three videos. The first prologue feature depicts Mr. Watt beginning a day of training. "I don't chase dreams, I hunt them," he says. Mr. Watt also unveiled his own logo with the Canton, Mass.-based sportswear brand. "The Hunt Greatness campaign goes right to the core of what we stand for as a brand, inviting consumers to Be More Human by pushing their limits every day through fitness," said David Oksman, head of U.S. marketing at Adidas-owned Reebok, in a statement. Mr. Watt signed an endorsement deal with Reebok last year.
Finally, there is one executive move to report this week …
Jamie Egasti has stepped down as CEO of Catalina Marketing, replaced on an interim basis by Greg Delaney, a Catalina director and former chief operating officer of Acosta Sales & Marketing. Mr. Egasti, previously a longtime Procter & Gamble Co. executive, will remain vice chairman and continue to advise the company. On his watch, Catalina launched its BuyerVision targeted digital and mobile ad product, and built its Nielsen Catalina Solutions joint venture for measuring sales results of packaged-goods ad campaigns.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jessica Wohl, Jack Neff