MillerCoors Behind the Beer

Coors Light unveils updated television spots, a key pillar of turnaround strategy

As part of its strategy to claw back from a rough 2017, Coors Light today is unveiling the first of 10 new television spots embracing its title as the “World’s Most Refreshing Beer.”

The colorful ads, which follow a group of friends traversing rugged terrain, represent the evolution of the light beer brand’s “Climb On” campaign.

“We’re leaning heavily into our positioning as the World’s Most Refreshing Beer,” says Ryan Marek, vice president of the Coors family of brands. The new ads are “optimistic, energetic and celebrate our provenance.”

Set against a mountainous backdrop evoking the beer’s Rocky Mountain birthplace, the ads show the chums hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, snowmobiling, downhill skiing and camping, before celebrating by cracking open cans of Coors Light.

Mountains, he says, “are a metaphor for a value system; they challenge us to push ourselves and reach for what’s next. And just like people don’t like to stand still or see themselves as stagnant, Coors Light is never satisfied and always reaching for more.”

The reimagined campaign amplifies elements of its existing campaign — including refreshment, aspiration and origin — and pivots away from what Marek calls “fragmented messaging” from 2017 that became “too heavy” and “focused too much on obstacles.” Coors Light opted to stay the course on the overall “Climb On” theme under the belief that “consistency will be the path of success in the future,” Marek says. “Changing creative every year leaves consumers confused because they don’t know what your brand stands for, and it’s harder for us to break through if you have to retrain them every year.”

Although Coors Light retains its spot as the second-best selling beer in America and has picked up share in the premium-light segment, case volume dropped 3.9 percent in 2017 amid a broader market downturn in American light lagers, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data through Dec. 30. That compares with the No. 1 beer, Bud Light, where volume fell 6 percent over the same period, per Nielsen.

Marek says the brand is committed to ensuring 2018 isn’t a repeat, and says he has “full confidence” that both Coors Light and America’s No. 3 beer, Miller Lite, can return to growth.

“We have learned from our missteps. We understand what worked, and what wasn’t working and we’re course correcting,” Marek says. “The good news is this is not a problem of a brand that does not have relevancy with drinkers. This is a brand that needed a more-compelling communications platform, more investment and the right tools to give our sales people, distributor partners and retailers to make sure we’re connecting in the retail environment.”

Marek says the revamp to Coors Light’s creative campaign is the first of many moves the brand plans to make to improve its performance in 2018.

In addition to the new television spots, Coors Light is investing “significantly more” this year to ensure it is reaching more drinkers more frequently with its messaging. And it’s putting more effort and resources behind big selling seasons: Summer and football season, he says. As part of its off-premise strategy, Coors Light is partnering with premium cooler maker Yeti on promotions and displays at retail.

By deploying this combination of initiatives, Coors Light “is set to have a big summer and return to more stable ground,” he says.

Another aspect of Marek’s optimism is what he views as an evolving competitive landscape in premium light lagers that serves to benefit MillerCoors brands, he says. “We think now is the right time for us to emerge as the leader within the category and to pave the path to growth for the entire segment.”