As Molson Coors has shifted its marketing philosophy over the last three years – embracing the idea of “building brands that more people want to hang out with” – the company’s campaign work is starting to earn recognition, including a recent slate of honors from some of the industry’s most esteemed awards.
The recognition comes as Molson Coors is seeing its marketing translate into tangible sales results. Over the latest 13-week span, the company grew its total category share for the first time in its history. At the same time, Coors Light and Miller Lite collectively grew their share of the premium light segment by an entire point at the expense of chief competitor Bud Light, according to IRI data through June 26. Year to date, the two premium light brands have posted their strongest category share performance in more than five years.
“We have been really focused on having clear points of view for Coors Light and Miller Lite, and finding creative ways to break through the big-beer clutter. In doing so, we’ve increased our marketing effectiveness significantly and helped to drive our business forward,” says Michelle St. Jacques, Molson Coors’ chief marketing officer. “We believe in the power of our biggest brands and are doubling down to keep them as relevant as they’ve ever been.”
At the Effie Awards, which honors campaigns that positively impact the overall business and sales, Molson Coors tied for the No. 3 most effective marketer of the year as the only legacy brewer to rank in the top three.
“I am incredibly proud of the awesome work done by our marketing teams and agencies to move the needle,” St. Jacques said. “They are focused on making sure we use creativity to drive results and leverage data and analytics to make the biggest impact in market.”
The Effies, presented by Effie Worldwide, honored Coors Light with a Gold award in the Renaissance category for its “Made to Chill” campaign, which has propelled it to growth after years of sagging sales. The campaign, which positions Coors Light as “a gateway to chill” – the moments drinkers need to relax and recharge – was recognized for helping return the brand to glory. The campaign has been executed by agencies including DDB Chicago, ABMC, Soulslight, ALMA DDB and Rethink.
Of Coors Light’s performance improvements following the "Made to Chill" campaign, St. Jacques says, “We went from declining mid-single digits in 2018 to growing by mid-single digits in 2021. We grew share of total beer for the first time in five years. Most importantly, we raised consideration with 21–34 year-olds and drove a new generation of Coors Light lovers to our brand.”
Coors Light won another Gold for its “Iceman to Canton” program, in which the brand supported pro football legend Tom Flores in his bid to earn a spot in pro football’s hall of fame. Flores, the first Latino quarterback to play in the league, was a trailblazing player, coach, executive and broadcaster. Coors Light put his face on a can and encouraged fans to sign a petition supporting Flores’ election to the hall, to which he was admitted after a decades-long campaign for immortality.
The agencies ALMA DDB, ICF Next, O Positive, Animal Music and Moving Forward Studios Inc. worked on the program.
Finally, Miller Genuine Draft was awarded Bronze in the Experiential Marketing category for a stunt in which it launched a hard seltzer – into space. Thousands of people tuned into a livefeed of the supposed launch of a space craft, only to be surprised when it fell to pieces – much to the delight of the ground-control crew. The stunt, created by Mischief, not only moved the needle for MGD, but helped to cement the brand’s new positioning as a ‘beer’s beer,’ leading to other work such as Miller Lite’s Beernaments program and the more-recent Beercoal activation.
Molson Coors’ brands were also recognized at the prestigious Cannes Lions international creative festival, which honors the best in creative marketing.
Coors Light’s Chillboards campaign, in which it painted ads on residential rooftops in low-income communities using ultra-reflective paint to significantly lower the temperature of the buildings, received multiple Lion awards and landed on the short list for the festival’s most esteemed award, the Titanium Grand Prix.
Miller Lite also was recognized for its Beer Drops campaign, which celebrated its flavor credentials, selling beer-flavored drops for consumers to enhance the taste of their beer. The campaign earned a Bronze, as well.
At Cannes, St. Jacques teamed up with Ari Weiss, global creative officer of DDB, to discuss how beer is marketed in a session called “Ripping Apart the Old Beer Playbook.”
During the session, St. Jacques explained how she and her team implemented a new, progressive vision at Molson Coors, creating a leadership team that is 50% female and people of color, while crafting a vision of beer’s inclusive, sustainable and “fearlessly creative” future.
“Our marketing vision at Molson Coors is to ‘build brands that more people want to hang out with,’” said St. Jacques. “Creativity is at the heart of this vision. It allows us to connect with a more diverse group of people in an authentic way that makes them literally want to hang out with us – to bring us to a party, to talk about what our brands are doing, or to hold our cans proudly in a bar.”