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Cider Marketers Bolster Rising Category With Major Ad Support

May 14, 2014

With hard cider sales rising quickly, led by Boston Beer Co.’s Angry Orchard brand, major producers are hitting the market with new promotional campaigns for spring and summer.

MillerCoors’ new brand, Smith and Forge, went on television on April 1 on ESPN, Discovery and other networks, including spots running during the National Hockey League playoffs on NBC, in a campaign expected to run through the summer. That effort is being bolstered by outdoor and print ads, with print executions in titles including Sports Illustrated, Maxim and Men’s Fitness. Most of the ads, featuring bearded lumberjacks, are plainly aimed at a male audience. Meanwhile, Crispin cider, which is also in the MillerCoors portfolio, will get an inaugural run on national TV. That campaign also will be supplemented by print and digital, according to Smith and Forge brand manager Royce Carvalho.

New Anheuser-Busch cider brand Johnny Appleseed went on national TV earlier this week and will run in major venues including NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Spots on Comedy Central, FX, TNT and the Food Network are also planned. “We’ll be doing just a little bit of print,” explains Eli Aguilera, director of high-end products at A-B. “We’re putting most of our dollars towards late-night television.”

Meanwhile, Heineken USA, importer of the Strongbow brand from England, is advertising in such print titles as Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. The nation’s No.-2 brand behind Angry Orchard, Vermont Hard Cider Co.’s Woodchuck, is in print in Yankee magazine and is sponsoring tastings at beer and cider festivals. And Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co.’s Hard Smashed Apple Ale is getting digital and social media exposure, says senior marketing director Ignacio Sola. “We’ll promote local events, doing as much sampling as we can,” Sola adds.

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