Miller sends up hard seltzer craze with livestreamed rocket launch

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 Miller sends up hard seltzer craze with livestreamed rocket launch

Dive Brief:

    Miller Genuine Draft, the beer brand marketed by Molson Coors Beverage Company, will launch a hard seltzer into space as part of a livestreamed event on May 13, according to a news release.
    Fans can visit a website to recommend a brand to send skyward, including offerings from rival companies. An ad promoting the stunt depicts a beleaguered Miller employee taking shots at the hard seltzer craze while carrying a pixilated case of seltzer to load into the rocket.
    Sister brand Miller Lite will broadcast the event on its Facebook and Twitter channels at 4 p.m. EST Thursday. The campaign, Miller’s first with agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address, courts beer lovers who feel alienated amid an explosion of hard seltzer brands — including several from Molson Coors.

Dive Insight:

With the livestreamed stunt, Miller is playing up its positioning as a “real beer’s beer,” to quote a character in the promotional video. The effort riffs on the concept of a product launch: Rather than jumping in on the hard seltzer craze with its own variant, Miller will instead shoot another company’s offering into space in a show of symbolic aversion to the trend.

Hard seltzer first captured consumer interest at large in the summer of 2019, with surging sales for labels like White Claw and Truly. The category’s popularity has endured while growth for big beer has been a mixed bag over the past couple of years.

“For years, Miller has been an expert in brewing — from Lite to High Life to MGD — and we’ve never changed or compromised our love of great beer,” said Sofia Colucci, vice president of Miller brands, in the press statement. “Because we’re a beer. Not a seltzer. In case we haven’t made that clear yet.”

Miller could be angling to attract a growing cohort of consumers who tune into space-related content on social media. SpaceX, the private aerospace manufacturer founded by Elon Musk, has drawn millions of viewers to its rocket launches. Miller’s stunt follows a weekend where Musk hosted “Saturday Night Live,” leading to a spike in ratings for the comedy program.

Other brands have glommed onto a resurging fascination with space travel in the U.S. As part of a tie-up with the Netflix series “Space Force” last year, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s sent a pint of its Boots on the Moooo’n ice cream 20 miles into the atmosphere.

Miller staking out a stronger claim against hard seltzer comes as its parent company continues to bet on the category for growth. Molson Coors last fall introduced a Coors Seltzer brand with an extensive marketing campaign centered on the environment. The company also owns the spirited seltzer brand Proof Point and hard seltzer lines Three Fold, Topo Chico and Vizzy. The global hard seltzer market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% from 2020 to 2027, according to Grand View Research.

Molson Coors Beverage is also working to revitalize Miller Genuine Draft, or MGD, which saw its heyday in the ’90s. Earlier this year, it rolled out a campaign emphasizing the beer’s “genuineness” and improving its visibility after years of decline. The brewer worked with creative agency BrandOpus to redesign MGD’s logo and packaging as part of the overhaul.

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