Coors Light’s ‘Made to Chill’ campaign generates promising early buzz

Less than a month into its new “Made to Chill” marketing campaign, Coors Light has burst into the national conversation, sparking positive chatter on social media, enthusiasm among drinkers, retailers and distributors and a round of favorable press coverage. 

Its “Official Beer of Being Done Wearing a Bra” video spot, in particular, has become a cultural touchstone, eliciting praiseworthy essays from female reporters and editors at publications including Eater, Scary Mommy and The Takeout, which calls the ad “groundbreaking.”

“I can admit, I felt seen by this ad,” wrote Kate Bernot at The Takeout, noting she “loved” the ad for its willingness to market directly to women. Maybe it’s a stepping stone, an indication that women are in advertising and brewing company boardrooms, wielding decision-making power and putting women at the center of beer ads as consumers, not trophies.”

Julie Scagell of the mom blog Scary Mommy praised the spot, saying “For a beer company to be the first to recognize the power behind (removing a bra) is surprising, and a bit refreshing.”

Madeleine Davies of Eater, meanwhile, said the ad struck her as “remarkable … that advertisers now see marketing beer to independent, working women as a viable, worthwhile strategy.”

The campaign, which also includes a spot featuring a 20-something man shimmying in the shower with a Coors Light, clearly is resonating with others, too. That includes "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, who featured (and spoofed) the ad on his program.

Consumers on Facebook are talking about Coors Light 33% more than other brands in its competitive set, per MillerCoors data. What’s more, the brand’s posts have been shared at a rate 10 times higher than in the timeframe preceding the campaign’s launch, with more women talking about the brand on social media than ever before.

And the sentiment is overwhelmingly positive. About 80% of the comments on campaign posts on social media have been people tagging their friends or self-identifying with comments like “That’s me,” or “That’s us.” And among those who have used the brand’s hashtag #MadeToChill, the sentiment has been 88% positive, per MillerCoors research.

“A big part of this business is about generating excitement among consumers and our retail and distributor partners,” says Ryan Reis, vice president of the Coors family of brands. “The earliest read we get on a campaign is from them. And we’re seeing tremendous excitement across the board. You can almost feel it. You don’t generate this kind of buzz very often, but when you do, it’s special.”

The new work reflects the new direction MillerCoors CMO Michelle St. Jacques is taking with the company’s marketing campaigns, which put simply, is to build brands that make real connections with and spark conversations among consumers. 

Emboldened by the success of the first round of spots, Coors Light has released a new ad that features a group of four male friends on the golf course drinking Coors Light, just in time for the PGA championship.

But instead of taking their game seriously, they take one-handed hacks at the ball, beer-in-hand, and saunter down the fairway in a state of unadulterated glee.

The golf spot aims to show that moments of chill — the centerpiece of the campaign — can happen not only alone in your apartment or home but out with friends, Reis says.

“There are many ways to chill and unplug from the ‘always-on’ mindset,” Reis says. “Sometimes it’s by yourself. Sometimes the greatest moments of chill are with other people, your friends. With all of these ads, we’re intentionally breaking light beer paradigms because we don’t want Coors Light to be just thought of as a light beer; it’s what you choose when you want to chill.”

While Reis says he’s encouraged by the strong, positive response the campaign is generating, the true measure of its effectiveness will be measured in sales figures.

Nonetheless, early reads are good; the brand has picked up 0.4 points of share in the most-recent four-week period measured by Nielsen, which includes about a week-and-a-half of data since the campaign launch. That’s up from the 0.2 points of share Coors Light has corralled year-to-date.

“The social media buzz, the distributor and retailer excitement are necessary conditions of success,” Reis says. “You have to have those things for a successful campaign, and we do. Now what matters is sales, and we won’t have a full read on that until a bit later.”