- Samuel Adams has a new campaign built around an electronic insulated sleeve for beer cans that reminds users to pace their beer-drinking sessions by occasionally switching to a non-alcoholic beer, per an announcement. The brand, which is marketed by Boston Beer, this week also introduced Just the Haze, a new non-alcoholic India pale ale.
- The rechargeable Insulating Pacing Apparatus, or "The I.P.A.," has built-in motion sensors, a vibration system and LED lights that activate after every second beer as a reminder to switch to a non-alcoholic beer. Samuel Adams is asking drinkers to register at its "Pace with Taste" microsite by March 19 for a chance to win one of the electronic beer sleeves.
- The campaign is notable for being timed to the beginning of March Madness, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which returns next week after being canceled in 2020 for the first time in its more than 80-year history because of the pandemic. In anticipation of sports fans engaging in marathon watching sessions after missing last year's tournament, Samuel Adams's campaign and beer sleeve are designed to show how non-alcoholic beers can fit into any drinking occasion.
Samuel Adams's campaign for its non-alcoholic Just the Haze IPA coyly plays off those initials with the online offer for an Insulating Pacing Apparatus, as it calls the electronic insulating sleeve. The beer brand aims to stand out with the introduction of the novelty device and reinforce the idea that college basketball fans can enjoy marathon viewing sessions of March Madness by switching back and forth between alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews.
The campaign also is another sign that sports-related promotions this year are returning to a more normal schedule a year after the pandemic led professional and college leagues to cancel or delay their seasons. March Madness historically has been one of the biggest occasions for advertising spending, ranking behind the post-seasons for the NFL and NBA, because of its number of games and large audience. The college tournament generated $910 million in ad spend in 2019, which was down 3% from the prior year, according to researcher Kantar Media. Many of those advertisers have been loyal to March Madness, including 23 that had appeared for 10 years straight during the event. TV ratings for this year's tournament may be lower amid a shift in viewing habits to streaming platforms during the pandemic. TV ratings for the Super Bowl fell to a 15-year low amid those disruptions.
The campaign for Just the Haze IPA follows the "Try January" promotion that Truly Hard Seltzer, which is marketed by Samuel Adams's parent company Boston Beer, ran two months ago to promote its new Truly Iced Tea Hard Seltzer. The campaign was contrary to the Dry January movement that urges people to abstain from alcohol after overindulging during the holiday season. Truly created a microsite to give away branded merchandise including hats, sweatshirts, koozies and fanny packs.
Non-alcoholic beers are gaining market share as more younger consumers seek healthier alternatives to alcoholic brews. During Dry January, AB InBev's non-alcoholic beer brand O'Doul's partnered with dating site Match to offer Virtual Date Kits to urge people to meet up online instead of in person during the pandemic. Budweiser also launched a campaign to promote Budweiser Zero, its first zero-alcohol beer, by recruiting a group of athletes as brand ambassadors for its Team Zero campaign.