Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is urging drinkers to “Take Back Summer.”
The brand on Monday is kicking off the major portion of its 2019 campaign, which encourages drinkers to set work aside, put down their phones and make the most of their fleeting summer days.
The campaign, which runs through September, targets young professionals (21+) and expands the brand into locations and occasions that reflect the ways drinkers typically enjoy Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy across the country.
“We’re broadening our appeal by showing Leinenkugel’s in settings that are perfect for our beer, like beer gardens in the city and rooftop patios,” says Frank Cirone, senior director of Leinenkugel’s at MillerCoors. “When it’s hot, we want to remind drinkers — wherever they are — that there’s nothing better than the taste of crisp beer with refreshing lemonade flavor.”
The “Take Back Summer” campaign is hitting digital channels and social media now, and will roll out across additional mediums, including TV, radio and out-of-home, throughout the spring and summer. It’s the first work from the brand’s new creative agency partner, Mono.
The central theme of the spots is that Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy can be a catalyst for young professionals to set aside their to-do lists for a spell, connect with friends and live in the moment.
“Our creative is less focused on educating people what a shandy is and more focused on what the overall experience of drinking a shandy in the summer is like,” Cirone says. ”Expect to see the brand in more summertime occasions, such as on the water, at a rooftop party, at a beach or in a bar.”
“Our research shows that millennials feel an intense pressure to over-work, and in turn they’re sacrificing some of the more fun parts of their lives,” Cirone says. “Half of them purposely don’t take their full amount of vacation days for fear of how it will be perceived. When we learned this, we knew Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy could play the role of hero, encouraging them to take back summer.”
The refreshed campaign aims to get the brand back on track in 2019, after a difficult 2018 in which the brand slipped 17.5% in case volume, per Nielsen data through Dec. 29. The dip was due in part to a colder-than-normal spring throughout much of the Midwest and Northeast, as well as the rise of adjacent beverages, such as hard seltzers.
Despite the tough 2018, Cirone is confident the brand can rebound, especially with an increased media investment and the shift in messaging.
“Drinkers are still reaching for flavored beers,” Cirone says, pointing to positive trends in recent internal data. “We refuse to be complacent and know trends aren’t going to change if we keep doing what we’ve always done.”