Coors Light will be ‘louder’ and ‘prouder’ in 2018

The nation’s No. 2 beer is getting a refresh, an attempt to return the brand to stability.

In the throes of what Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll calls “a challenging year” for Coors Light, the brand is “taking decisive action” with a renovation that includes new messaging, new packaging and updates to its loyalty program.

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 is down 3.4 percent year-to-date through Sept. 30, according to Nielsen. That compares with the No. 1 beer, Bud Light, where volume is down 5.7 percent over the same period, per Nielsen.

The first step visible to consumers is a refreshed marketing campaign focused on strengthening the Coors Light title as “the world’s most-refreshing beer,” elements of which are rolling out now at retail.

The multi-pronged, national effort, the brunt of which will roll out in January, builds off the successful “Climb On” campaign and will span across television, print, digital, out of home and experiential programming, says Ryan Marek, vice president of the Coors family of brands. He says to expect a more-refined, optimistic and aspirational message backed by an investment “to ensure we’re always on with consistent and continuous media.”

While the “Climb On” proposition “continues to be very strong for us and connects with consumers,” Marek says, the brand’s overall messaging fragmented in 2017. “We went a little too fast and too far. We not only were trying to tell a product story, we also were telling a lifestyle story and a sustainability story.”

The most-successful campaigns, Marek says, “focus on what makes brands special and what differentiates them from the pack. With Coors Light, there are many, many ways we can do that, and we’re clearly going to be celebrating our position as the world’s most-refreshing beer.”

A month after a wave of new ads hit the market, the brand will unveil what Marek calls more streamlined, contemporary and premium packaging that will “elevate the look and feel” of Coors Light while presenting more-consistent branding across all pack sizes.

The most-apparent change consumers will notice is all-silver paneling, an update over the two-toned silver-and-gray packs in the market today. The idea is that the all-silver packs will stand out better and offer a more-striking visual pop than the two-tone packs, improving floor displays and the cooler door, he says.

The renovation begins in the first week of February with packaging that holds 12-oz. cans and continues with other packaging over the next months.

The third element in the refresh is a revision to Coors Light’s relatively new loyalty program, which launched over the summer. Based on suggestions that came directly from wholesalers, Coors Light will change the name of the program to “Coors Light Rewards” from “Coors Light XP.”

On top of that, the program – which offers incentives for drinkers to choose Coors Light more often – will be extended to additional pack sizes, covering more than 80 percent of its volume sold on display, up from less than 20 percent today, Marek says. Those changes are aimed at creating more loyalty within the brand, a key component within the premium light segment.

“With even stronger advertising, packaging and spending, I’m confident we’ll have a stronger year,” Kroll said in a speech to MillerCoors distributors this week in Las Vegas. “You can expect us to be louder, prouder and always on.”