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‘Get ready UK': White Claw’s CMO reveals the hard seltzer’s global attack strategy

The Drum 08 Apr 2021 10:00

For much of the world, hard seltzer is an American curiosity like Dunkin’ Donuts or Twinkies. But that’s about to change.

Category leader White Claw has now launched in five global markets, including the UK, with 10 more on the horizon. The Drum caught up with chief marketer John Shea to learn more about the brand’s first global ad campaign.

White Claw has built its brand on social. Why go mass market now?

There are a few different things. First of all, we're going global. So we’re expanding the product around the world. We’ve launched in five global markets. We’re currently in Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland and Australia. And then we will launch in another 10 markets this year... this is the right time to launch a campaign to educate the world about what the product is. We’ll have a consistent brand image throughout the world.

This brand came out in 2016 and has had unbelievable growth. We’re the number one-selling hard seltzer in the hottest category on the planet. There were six competitors at this time last year. Now there are over 200. This category is as getting as competitive as any I’ve ever seen.

Tell us about the ‘Let’s White Claw’ campaign. What makes it different? How will it keep the momentum going globally?

When we were getting to the bottom of the campaign, the ‘why,’ what was it? It’s the combination of excellent product and it just caught the hearts and minds of consumers. It evokes this feeling of pure, uncomplicated fun which is what we used as the inspiration. White Claw is about your freedom and your people in those moments that just don’t get any better. So what we’re doing is partnering with creators from across the country, around the world. There’s no cast. No sets.

We’ve really just recently started our global expansion. The US is certainly farther ahead than any other market. In a lot of global markets we want to have that consistent feeling that comes from White Claw. Different markets are in different stages. Some markets need to be educated on what hard seltzer is.

Who’s your target demographic?

But Truly said you’re the favored drink of bros.

Let’s talk innovation. What’s next?

You just launched a hard seltzer iced tea.Hard lemonade seltzers have been very popular. Is launching a lemonade a no-no because Mike’s Hard Lemonade is a sister brand at Mark Anthony International?

We've recently launched Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer, which is doing fantastically well. That's where we’re focused right now for lemonade and White Claw has its own things that are coming out.

Um, we have a lot of things in the pipeline. I’d say we haven't launched anything yet.

I don’t think there are any ‘no’s’ that in this category right now. There are a lot of consumers coming into the category. There are a lot of competitors that are coming in this category. It’s ripe for a lot of innovation so at this point I wouldn’t say there's anything off the table. We’re an innovation company so we look at everything. We follow all of the consumer wants and needs. There’s a lot of a lot of things on the table and a lot of room for growth.

The ‘Let’s White Claw’ campaign is very optimistic. We think it’s timed really well as the world is getting vaccinated and opening up. And as we get into the summer, which is our key selling season, we’ve timed our innovation, our campaign and our media between April and October. You’ll be seeing a lot of retail activity, media, social media, digital television and expansion around the world. It’s a high growth time for the White Claw brand.

All right. Fair enough. Anything I missed?

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White ClawUKJohn Sheaseltzerthe Netherlands
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