Cannes Lions

Bud Light Seltzer Strategy

ABINBEV, New York / ABINBEV / 2022

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As the hard seltzer market grew exponentially, it became oversaturated. With black and white packaging and basic flavors, every shelf became more of the same. Bud Light Seltzer knew that to capture new drinkers, it needed to stand out. So we focused on three key growth drivers in the market: bold flavors are outpacing basic flavors, variety of flavors is important to consumers, and people love sociability in their purchasing. We took advantage of those three growth drivers and created a seasonal, limited-time-only product plan to sell more product and continue to drive awareness of Bud Light Seltzer as a brand on the whole. Analytics and social listening informed both the flavors that were chosen by the product innovation team as well as the overall look and feel, and branding of the packaging itself.


We knew that to reach our target audience and stand out from a crowded competition, we needed to focus on those key market growth drivers. Analytics informed our product innovation, and we began to plan seasonal packs with a variety of bold flavors and interesting “Instagrammable” packaging. As the holiday season approached we were ready to put our strategy into market. During the holiday season, conversation around nostalgic, bold flavors spikes while seltzer purchasing is at its lowest. So we introduced four first-to-market, bold seltzer flavors (including Peppermint Pattie and Ginger Snap) and packaged it up by capitalizing on sociable trend - Ugly Sweaters. The Bud Light Seltzer Ugly Sweater Pack proved our formula worked, and set us up for success throughout the year.


After the flavors were tested, the team worked to create product names and packaging that captured the sociability and cultural relevance that the market was looking for. Each season played into that cultural relevance and delivered limited-time products that flew off the shelves as people wanted to try something new, bold, and fun. After Ugly Sweater’s success, we introduced the cocktail-inspired Out of Office pack in spring, encouraging people to “taste time off” as the world reopened. The Retro Summer Tie Dye pack married the massive resurgence of tie-dye in its packing with first-of-their-kind nostalgic flavors like Blue Raspberry and Cherry Limeade. And finally, the Fall Flannel pack played into “basic” culture with flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Toasted Marshmallow. Each pack had an accompanying 360 campaign that drove cultural relevance and conversation with smart, tactical social media moments.


Bud Light Seltzer Ugly Sweater

PR Placements: 187

Impressions: 160.3M

Bud Light Seltzer Out of Office

PR Placements: 189

Impressions: 308.5M

Bud Light Seltzer Retro Summer Tie Dye

PR Placements: 168

Impressions: 461.1M

Retro Transition:

PR Placements: 31

Impressions: 34.8M

Achieved 3.5% Rate of Sale of the entire seltzer category overtaking Michelob Ultra Seltzer, Truly Iced Tea, Vizzy, and Topo Chico

Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel

PR Placements: 610

Impressions: 395.6M

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