Coors Light’s Viral “Made to Chill” Campaign is Moving the Needle

September 26, 2019
New CMO’s Insightful Ads Speak Directly to Millennials
"We’ve seen an 88% positive sentiment on social mentions,” exclaimed MillerCoors CMO, Michelle St. Jacques. “80% of the comments posted about the campaign have been from young people tagging someone else saying things like, ‘That’s me’ or ‘That’s us’. It shows that Coors Light is connecting with consumers on a meaningful, relatable level and I couldn’t be more excited.”
St. Jacques is MillerCoors’ new Chief Marketing Officer and the first woman to ever hold the position. She was recruited almost a year ago from Kraft Heinz, where she revived the company’s mac & cheese – you know, the one in the blue box – with an ad campaign that went viral. In an environment where consumers are bombarded with ads from every angle, St. Jacques discovers ways to cut through the clutter. “I’m a naturally curious person,” she explained to Heady Times. “I search for real consumer truths, what stresses them out or what makes them happy. My team and I found that people are exhausted living in a world that never lets them disconnect, and just simply chill. Our new creative brings this reality to life in unexpected ways and shows how Coors Light plays a part in enjoying life.”
The new campaign, Made to Chill, repositions Coors Light as the “ideal antidote to an always-on world.” The campaign portrays millennials actively seeking ways to take a mental break from lives spent, “always being on and connected, which can be all-consuming and overwhelming,” says Ryan Reis, vice president of the Coors family of brands. “We’re trying to give them a moment to chill.”
The ads, currently airing on streaming services and channels like ESPN, feature everyday occasions where young people reach for a cold Coors Light when they need a time-out from their day to chill. One spot that went viral earlier this month features a young professional woman returning to her apartment after a long day at work, cracking open a Coors Light. While relaxing on her couch she effortlessly removes her bra (through her shirt sleeve) and tosses it aside.
More ads featuring moments to chill are on the way, as is a revamped social media presence in which MillerCoors is investing more money than ever before. “We’ve learned that we’ve got to go even further to connect with [21 to 34-year‑old] consumers,” says Reis. “Drinkers turn away from what they view as typical, big, loud beer ads. With chill, we went quiet and small. And because younger, legal-age drinkers see themselves in these ads, they have a reason to reach for a Coors Light.”
While the campaign is only just getting started, the results thus far have been tremendous. Essays published for food blog, The Takeout, argue that Coors Light’s new Bra ad represents a much-needed shift in the portrayal of women in beer advertising. “More women have been talking about Coors Light on social media than ever before,” says St. Jacques. “I couldn’t be happier with the spontaneous engagement. You can’t script this stuff.” [See side bar for actual comments.] “Consumers are telling us, ‘hey, you get me’. Coors Light is a brand that lets people be themselves.”
For years Coors Light has owned “cold”, positioning the brand as “the world’s most refreshing beer.” While this resonated with mature consumers, studies showed that millennials were indifferent to the message. “Indifference is a death knell for any product,” St. Jacques said. “Cold has been central to Coors Light’s story, but by shifting the message to chill, more people see themselves reaching for this iconic beer when the moment is right.”
With an edgier narrative and a broader consumer appeal, Made to Chill positions Coors Light as an adult beverage, perfect for many occasions. “The goal here is to be the go-to consumable that people choose whenever they’re opting to turn off, whether they already identify themselves as a beer drinker or not. Coors Light is not just a light lager,” said Reis. “It’s the beverage we hope drinkers seek out when they’re looking for a perfect moment of chill. And if we can convince them of that, we are going to get a heck of a lot more young people drinking Coors Light.”
St. Jacques’s smart, authentic marketing approach for Coors Light is a new beginning for the brand. “It’s about taking smart risks,” she said. “Trying new things in the marketplace – throwing gasoline on what is working and stopping the things that aren’t working.”
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