Cannes Lions

Natural Light - College Debt Relief Program


Case Film
Case Film
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Situation: Natty’s segment is highly competitive for the consumer dollar. It’s a value (low-cost) product, meaning competing for consumer attention alongside shelf space is a battle. Big budget media campaigns are not realistic - finding true consumer insights and activating them effectively through PR is the path to success.

Brief: The brand wanted to help our consumers, recent graduates, remember college for great memories, and not the mountain of debt that follows. More than 44 million Americans are burdened by college debt, with a national balance of nearly $1.5 trillion dollars. The brief was to create multi-channel campaign that:

-Ties directly to insight that effects and mobilizes our consumer

-Engages our consumers and adds value to the existing conversation

-Achieves sell-through of the product

Objective: Captivate earned national media through influential consumer lifestyle, national news and sports outlets to reach core consumer, drive brand love and reach sell-thru.


Natty gave away $10 million over the next ten years to help consumers pay down college loans. The brand would run an on-pack promotion where over 50 consumers could win a share of $1,000,000 to help pay down their loans.

Consumers entered to win the cash by purchasing a specially-marked pack of product and posting a video on their social platforms explaining their inspiration for going to college.

The program launched during the biggest sports (and marketing!) event of the year, the Super Bowl. The brand created a Super Bowl ad that was made completely from 2018 user-generated content and ran it in local markets where college debt hit hardest.

Also at launch, Natty partnered with Cash App, a popular payment app amongst the core consumer. During the Super Bowl, consumers could tweet at Natty and instantly win $151, the average monthly student loan payment.


PR strategy was built around maximizing multiple storytelling zones, identifying writers within business, sport, lifestyle, local & national news, food/drink and trade that have a professional or personal interest in student debt issue.

Key message was simple: college debt sucks, so this brand is springing into action to do something about it. Enjoying life and not taking it too seriously is the brand mantra - we wanted all coverage to express how Natty was actively trying to create change for its consumer.

Our target audience is college graduates struggling with debt. By directly discussing the major talking point of debt, plus activating around Super Bowl and a technology app partner, the brand gave itself multiple earned media avenues to reach these consumers.

At launch, Natty distributed its Super Bowl ad (which broke from big-budget convention) alongside some entertaining illustrations on the extremities of college debt problem to amplify its announcement.


Throughout the duration of the campaign, we continued to promote content based on the strong insights we pulled around our community's concerns. We leveraged relevant statistics and created content that spoke to the topic while still bringing our trademark fun and levity that our followers know and love.

We maintained a steady drumbeat of these posts throughout the campaign and to complement the ongoing buzz from the earned campaign and culminated in one major moment around super bowl, leveraging Cash App for real time give aways that created the perfect conversation spike to round out the campaign.


The program has secured 242 editorial placements, garnering 607.2M monthly impressions and 109 social posts with a reach of 85.3M impressions. This is a total of 351 hits and 692.5MM impressions. 100% positive in sentiment.

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