Anheuser-Busch InBev is putting more marketing muscle behind Natural Light Seltzer as the brewer tries to make up ground in the hot-selling category dominated by White Claw and Truly.
The line extension, which hit stores in August, will run its first TV ads starting this weekend during college football programming on CBS, FOX and FOX Sports 1. The ads, by VaynerMedia, use the tagline, “crashing the party hard.” The brand used that same theme last month when it signed up comedian Trevor Wallace for a marketing stunt aimed at market leader White Claw.
The TV ads show Natty Light-branded sailboats parked at a football tailgate. Daniel Blake, senior director of U.S. value brands at AB InBev, said in a statement that “‘Crash the Party’ embodies the Natty mindset,” adding that “you’ll continue to see disruptive Natty Seltzer moments that reinforce the party-crashing attitude.” The TV ads come after the brewer earlier struck a deal to make Natty Light the “official hard seltzer of the Big 12 conference.”
Marketing a hard seltzer under the name Natural Light—an economy brand long associated with college—is just one way AB InBev is trying to boost its seltzer performance. The brewer is also developing Bud Light Seltzer and a seltzer line extension for Stella Artois.
AB InBev also owns the Bon & Viv hard seltzer brand, which it backed with a Super Bowl ad earlier this year. But that brand, which AB InBev acquired in 2016 when it was called SpikedSeltzer, has not broken through to the same degree as White Claw and Truly. White Claw, owned by Mark Anthony Brands (which owns Mike's Hard Lemonade), controls 54 percent of the hard seltzer market, according to Nielsen data for the 52-week period ending Oct. 5 that was recently cited by a Wells Fargo report. Truly, which is owned by Sam Adams-maker Boston Beer Co., had 29 percent. Bon & Viv had just an 8 percent share.