Like every other brewer, Molson Coors keeps pouring money into the seltzer business, putting significant marketing dollars behind brands such as Vizzy, Topo Chico Hard Seltzer and a seltzer line extension of its biggest brand franchise—Coors.
But the new investments in the alcohol industry’s hottest category are not stopping the brewer from making fun of the seltzer craze. A new ad for Miller Genuine Draft shows the beer brand “launching” a seltzer—by strapping some onto a rocket and hurling it into oblivion. A new video teases the stunt, which the brewer says will take place on May 13 at 4 p.m. ET and be broadcast on Miller Lite’s Facebook and Twitter channels.
The brewer does not identify which seltzer it will put into the stratosphere, but it will surely be one that is not owned by Molson Coors. The video includes blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shots of Truly and Corona Seltzer, owned by Boston Beer Co. and Constellation Brands, respectively. Molson Coors is taking suggestions for which seltzer should get the rocket treatment at MGD’s web site.
The ad comes from Mischief @ No Fixed Address, which makes its debut on the Molson Coors agency roster with the spot. A representative for the brewer confirmed the agency’s work will “span multiple brands.”
Beneath the frivolity of the seltzer stunt is a bit of news. While Molson Coors has created a seltzer version of Coors, it has no plans to do one under its Miller brand family, apparently.
When asked how the brewer could justify making fun of seltzers at the same time it is investing so heavily in them, Sofia Colucci, VP of the Miller Family of Brands, issued the following statement to Ad Age:
“As Molson Coors Beverage Company, we maintain a portfolio of just that: beverages. So that includes products of all varieties, including some great seltzers, and we know seltzers are a growing segment. But this program is really meant to reinforce the role of one of our key brand portfolios—the Miller Family—and that we’re a beer’s beer. The only seltzer launch we’re planning is this launch into oblivion, so yes, Miller will remain dedicated to beer and beer only.”
Nothing ruled out
Of course, when it comes to seltzers, nothing can be ruled out. Since Truly and White Claw began popularizing the variety a few years ago, seemingly every alcohol marketer is jumping on the trend, and creating seltzers under long-standing brand names, including Bud Light, the top-selling beer in the U.S.
As of April 17, there were a total of 596 seltzer varieties, up from 434 a year earlier, Beer Marketer’s Insights recently reported, citing data from Bump Williams Consulting (the figure refers to SKUs, meaning it includes different flavors, not total brands).
So, who is winning? Beer Business Daily this week reported that Mark Anthony Brands, which owns White Claw and the new Mike’s Hard Lemonade, controlled 43% share of the segment, followed by Boston Beer (Truly) at 25% and Anheuser-Busch at 16% (with its brands including seltzer versions of Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Natural Light, and the new Travis Scott-backed Cacti.)
Molson Coors is in fourth place at about 6% share, thanks in part to its new Topo Chico seltzer, which is taking off like, well, a rocket.