- Smirnoff Seltzer partnered with "The Bachelor" to become the official hard seltzer of the hit TV franchise, the company announced in a press release. To support the partnership, the beverage brand launched a campaign titled "Will You Accept This Rosé?" with digital, social media and in-store activations in some stores.
- The effort promoting a new Smirnoff Seltzer Rosé drink is timed to run alongside the show's current season, where the drinks will appear on screen. Mike Johnson from "The Bachelorette" also appeared at an experiential event in Brooklyn and dished out new Smirnoff Seltzer Rosé and roses — a reference to how winners are chosen on the reality show — to attendees.
- The beverage maker has additionally created "Bachelor"-themed packaging to promote the new Smirnoff Seltzer Four Ways to Rosé line, which includes Raspberry Rosé, Strawberry Rosé, White Peach Rosé and Pink Apple Rosé flavors. The packaging will hit store shelves this summer.
Smirnoff is dipping its toes further into the booming hard seltzer category and aims to use the popularity of the "Bachelor Nation" TV franchises to drive awareness and clout to its new line of drinks. "Bachelor" programs have proved to have enduring, dedicated followers who carefully track developments on the show, building an online fan culture the marketer could cater to with its themed beverages. Digital ads supported by in-store events and experiential elements, like watch parties, could help Smirnoff get the message out to potential consumers.
Hard seltzer is a growing alcoholic beverage type targeting millennials, who are drinking less beer and seeking lower-calorie alternatives. Sales of hard seltzer are forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2021.
Smirnoff's marketing blitz for its new line comes the same week competitor Natural Light Seltzer debuts a campaign to promote its new strawberry-kiwi drink called House Rules. The marketer launched its first line of hard seltzers in August to tap into a growing consumer demand for lighter alcoholic beverages.
Natural Light is also running a social media contest where people can win a trip to a party on the day of the Super Bowl, Entrants are asked to share "the one house rule they live by"on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #nattyseltzerparty and #contest, and sign up on a dedicated microsite.
Smirnoff, Natural Light and other brands such as Bud Light — like Natural Light, an AB InBev label — are looking to make inroads into a category dominated by White Claw, which gained major buzz through strong word-of-mouth and viral online memes, including a video by comedian Trevor Wallace with the line "Ain't no laws when you're drinkin' Claws." Bud Light, for example, is in the midst of replacing a long-running "Dilly Dilly" campaign focused on its core beer product with one dedicated to a new hard seltzer offering, which will appear in its Super Bowl ad next month.
White Claw sales increased to $327.7 million last July, causing a national shortage. Amid product shortages, the brand cut its media spending by around 30% last year, according to a Kantar analysis, but has remained difficult to unseat from its dominant perch.