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: MillerCoors Planning Alcoholic Aguas Frescas Brand
MillerCoors is poised to release an alcoholic version of aguas frescas, a traditional Mexican drink made with fruit, water and sugar. The brand is called Zumbida, according to a filing the brewer made with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The label, which is in Spanish, shows a mango flavor with the words "aguas frescas" at top. "Zumbida is a traditional drink done in a distinctly American way -- a fusion," said a MillerCoors spokesman, confirming the launch.
The drink has 4.2% alcohol by volume, putting it on par with the average light beer. The label includes the words "con un toque de piquete" which means "with a touch of alcohol." Hispanics are a key audience for beer marketers and are helping drive growth for Mexican imported brands such as Corona Extra and Modelo Especial from Constellation Brands. AB InBev has sought to tap into the growth by importing to the U.S. brands it owns in Mexico, such as Montejo and Estrella Jalisco. MillerCoors does not have a Mexican beer in its portfolio. While Zumbida will be made in the U.S., not Mexico, MillerCoors seems to be aiming to gain credibility with Hispanics by referencing aqua frescas.
Here's more depressing news for the soda category: Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and Fanta all have lost brand value this year, according to a new report from Brand Finance, a business valuation and strategic consultancy. Coca-Cola held onto the top spot of the organization's ranking of 25 beverage brands, but Coke's brand value fell by 5% to $34.2 billion, according to the report. Brand Finance calculates brand value by estimating the likely future sales of a brand and calculating a "royalty rate" that represents "what the owner would have to pay for use of the brand -- assuming it were not already owned," according to a description in a press release. Pepsi's value plummeted 11%, while Coke-owned Sprite fell 5% and Coke-owned Fanta slipped by 1%. Gainers included PepsiCo's Mountain Dew, which jumped 6%. "While consumers may steer clear of carbonated drinks, Mountain Dew has evidently managed to project itself as a worthy purchase despite being carbonated. This is largely due to the fact that the brand has embraced the idea of being an energy drink, thus making the drink appealing to those who want an energy boost," Brand Finance stated.
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You can't go wrong with kids and dogs in ads. Moen has worked both into its new campaign from Havas Chicago, which won the account in December. The campaign keeps Moen's 23-year-old tagline "Buy it for looks. Buy it for life." But it focuses more on the life part, with a sentimental father-son bath-time spot breaking earlier this week and a second spot to come later featuring a dog who won't leave her owner alone in the shower (outfitted with a flexible Moen shower head that has a magnetic anchor). The new campaign is launching across TV, print, online video, online radio and social networks.
Velveeta is downsizing. The Kraft Heinz brand known for big blocks of processed cheese now has a miniature version, Velveeta Mini Blocks. The new variety has five four-ounce wrapped blocks per package, so people can use a small amount and keep unused portions sealed. "MasterChef Junior" season four winner Addison Osta Smith served as chef on Aug. 16 to promote the product. She served complimentary Cheesy Bacon Risotto, Cheesy Pulled Pork Taquitos and Cheesy Potato Waffles at New York's Blank Slate Coffee & Kitchen, which was renamed Melt for the occasion. "People know me from MasterChef Junior for my fancy desserts and miso-glazed cod, but when I'm at home with my family, we like to keep it fun and easy," Ms. Smith said in a statement, which described her as an "award-winning chef and playtime and sports enthusiast." Olson Engage worked with Velveeta on the launch.
Coty is doubling down on Katy Perry, who represents the CoverGirl brand the company will acquire in its soon-to-close deal with Procter & Gamble Co., and who is also launching the Mad Love fragrance brand with a novel campaign on the Kik messaging service.
The campaign by chat app marketing agency Block Party lets users exchange points they earn on Kik (by doing such things as watching videos or downloading sticker packs) for Ms. Perry's Mad Love eau de parfum. This is the first time that consumers can redeem rewards program points for a physical product in a U.S. chat app, according to Coty and Block Party. "It's a way for the brand to maximize engagement and reward young consumers for spreading awareness," said Kristin Spinn, Coty senior director-global marketing, in a statement.
"Buy one, give one" is a concept best associated with Toms shoes or Warby Parker glasses. But former USAID consultant David Simnick has been at it as long as those brands since co-founding Soapbox in 2010. Now Soapbox seems to be finding its moment with a new social media campaign from Mekanism that has racked up more than a million views its first week and growing distribution, including an upcoming nationwide rollout in Walmart stores. The "One Hand Washes the Other" concept introduces privileged American kids on a playground to the idea that other kids don't necessarily have soap readily available, and that their purchases (or their parents') can change that. Soapbox gives about half its donated products in the U.S., the other half in developing markets, where it works with local manufacturers to keep its donations from wiping out local industry.
Wendy's, home of a 4 for $4 meal deal for months, now has an even less expensive option -- a 50-cent limited-time price on a small Frosty. Wendy's is also giving frugal Frosty fans a free subscription to the MLB.TV Premium streaming service for the rest of the Major League Baseball season if they post a selfie on their public Twitter or Instagram accounts with a Frosty and the hashtag #50centFrostyMLB. Some fans, of course, decided to have fun with the offer, posting references to rapper 50 Cent's poor pitch from 2014. Wendy's is promoting the deal on Twitter and elsewhere. Plus, baseball fans heard about the offer through an MLB.com partners' email.
50 Cent & #MLB shouldn't even be in the same sentence…#50CentFrostyMLB pic.twitter.com/PDCHc8sefO— Ⓐustiη♠️Ⓦəstmoore (@Mr_Westmoore) August 15, 2016
We're still in the muggy throes of summer but brands are already thinking about Halloween. Retailers including Rite Aid began pushing the holiday with in-store displays weeks ago. Since it's the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" -- yes, Linus has spent half a century waiting in vain for a squash -- Peanuts will collaborate with 98 farms across the country, and cornfield maze design firm the Maize, to promote the brand. Special events for the Iconix Brand Group-owned brand will include mazes with Peanuts characters and special TV screenings. Like in 2008, Iconix will also partner with Rock the Vote and celebrities including John Oliver and Whoopi Goldberg to encourage voter registration for the upcoming election.
Liquor marketer Beam Suntory has inked a sponsorship deal with the Major League Soccer franchise LA Galaxy. The pact includes sponsorship of the team and the StubHub Center, the multi-use stadium in Carson, Calif., where the team plays. Beam is opening the Hornitos Tequila Cantina in the stadium, which is named for one of its tequila brands, as well as the Jim Beam Bourbon Champions Lounge, which is described as a 2,200 square-foot recently renovated premium-seating area, according to a statement.
In other stadium news, the Miami Dolphins today are expected to announce that its home stadium will be renamed Hard Rock Stadium as part of a deal with Hard Rock International, the Orlando-based operator of restaurants, hotels and casinos, according to the Miami Herald. As the Herald noted, the stadium has had multiple naming rights partners in recent years. It was most recently called Sun Life Stadium, after the financial services company.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli