Boston Beer Company’s Twisted Tea is heavily investing in college football this season through team partnerships and omnichannel activations including branded packaging and an enhanced media presence, per details shared with Marketing Dive.
The spiked ice tea brand will further its existing college football “Tea Drop” campaign with 30-second and 15-second spots to connect with super fans and offer free merchandise. It will also ride the wave of sports betting legalization with a FanDuel integration and tie-in with talk show host Pat McAffee.
The marketing investment comes after earning reports showed Twisted Tea helped to offset revenue decreases in core brands held by its parent company such as Truly Hard Seltzer. The spiked tea has also seen previous success around marketing during the football season.
Riding a wave of success, Twisted Tea is expanding its college football advertising, even as its parent company decreases advertising, promotional and selling expenses overall following a rocky second quarter. Its college football promotion will see activations across social media and linear and connected TV and includes new partnerships and a limited-edition Game Day Party Pack as the brand explores growing interest by consumers in hard seltzers and beer alternatives. It also comes as Twisted Tea launched a sweet tea whiskey in select markets.
Throughout the season, Twisted Tea will run ads across both cable and streaming channels and will also re-up its “Tea Drop” campaign, which pulls super fans from social media to surprise them with a bombardment of Twisted Tea products and free merchandise. Last year, the drops highlighted in-stadium celebrations. This year, at-home tailgates will take the stage through 30-second and 15-second spots — a nod that some pandemic traits could be here to stay.
Signaling what could be an opportunity for brands with the legalization of sports betting, Twisted Tea also partnered with American gambling company FanDuel to create a custom, free-to-play contest for fans to submit their college football picks for a chance to win. The brand’s partnership with Pat McAfee, FanDuel partner and host of “The Pat McAfee Show,” to feature Twisted Tea segments in chats about the season. The company is also re-upping its college IP support through partnerships with the Georgia Bulldogs, Florida Gators, Fighting Illini, Tennessee Athletics and Michigan State Athletics. Twisted Tea has also signed a multiyear deal with the Pac-12 Conference to become an official sponsor.
With the sudden decline within the hard seltzer industry, hard teas, lemonades and sodas have proven to be a profitable venture, especially when paired with sports. During the 2021 football season, Twisted Tea saw a 30% growth compared to the previous season. Brand awareness, display activity and household penetration was also up 31%.
Hard Mtn Dew, also produced by Boston Beer Company, has seen similar college football-themed success since its launch in February. The hard soda joins a growing trend of younger consumers reaching for hard alternatives to usually non-alcoholic beverages as the seltzer craze loses its luster.