Coors Seltzer Allows You to Do Good as You Drink, Differentiating Itself in a Busy Category

The product, which aims to restore America’s rivers, is the second seltzer from Molson Coors

Coors Seltzer's new campaign takes a light, tongue-in-cheek approach to the category. Coors Seltzer
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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do something to counteract environmental degradation, just by sitting around and enjoying a bubbly beverage?

That’s what Coors Seltzer’s offering with its new contribution to the category—the second hard seltzer that its parent company, Molson Coors, has launched this year. And for each 12-pack (or 12-pack equivalent) of the new product that is purchased, the brand is partnering with nonprofit Change the Course to restore 500 gallons of fresh water to rivers in the United States.

Coors Seltzer hit stores on Sept. 1 after a two-month delay, and its first creative campaign launched this week. In a 30-second TV spot created by Activista, drinkers somberly explain to the camera that while they don’t want to be partying, playing video games, lounging by the pool or camping (always with Coors Seltzers in hand, of course), it’s the least they can do.

“Giving this much hurts,” one woman explains while lounging in a hanging patio chair. “But it’s a small price to pay.”

In a second, shorter spot, a man puts down his book to reach from his hammock over to a cooler full of Coors Seltzers. He has to get the hammock swinging a bit to reach the can. “In search of volunteers willing to do the work,” a voiceover says. “Drink a seltzer, help save a river.”

The campaign is also accompanied by a sweepstakes initiative: Coors Seltzer is recruiting “volunteers” to help save the rivers by drinking its hard seltzer for free. Because while Americans drank 87 million gallons of hard seltzer this summer, the brand explained, it didn’t do much good. To balance out that consumption, Coors Seltzer is giving away 175,000 12-packs—each of which will restore 500 gallons of river water.

To enter the sweepstakes, fans must post a photo of themselves engaging in a “volunteer” activity on Instagram or Twitter, tagging the brand and including the hashtag #CoorsSeltzerSweeps. The program launches today and runs through the end of the year.

“With the launch of Coors Seltzer and its Volunteer Program, we’re setting out to provide a seltzer that tastes good and also gives drinkers an opportunity to do good with each and every sip,” said Molson Coors’ senior director of above-premium flavors Matt Escalante in a statement.

By extending its Coors beer brand to create a hard seltzer of the same name, Molson Coors is joining a club that already includes three Anheuser-Busch brands (Bud Light Seltzer, Natural Light Seltzer and Michelob Ultra Seltzer) as well as Corona Seltzer, Pabst Blue Ribbon Stronger Seltzer and even regional offerings like Shiner Hard Seltzer.

With so many options in the hard seltzer category, Molson Coors has been “ruthless” in its focus on differentiation, said the company’s marketing director for hard seltzers, Elizabeth Hitch. For Coors Seltzer, that’s the focus on its environmental impact. For Molson Coors’ other hard seltzer brand, Vizzy, it’s highlighting the ingredient list that includes vitamin C.

Both marketing strategies have a tongue-in-cheek feel to them, as if the brands are elbowing consumers and sharing a knowing laugh about how insanely crowded the hard seltzer category is getting. “It’s lighthearted, it’s fun,” said Hitch. “It’s not too serious, but at the end of the day we’re making a very real impact to America’s watershed.”

@klundster Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.