Cannes Lions

SweetWater Brewing #fishforafish


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The idea initially seemed like heresy—we would redesign their decades-old iconic beer cans in a way that would look totally different at retail. As shocking as that proposal was, when it became obvious this was about more than just beer cans, the project was greenlit, and we were on our way to creating new cans for both 420 and IPA. As an homage to fishing culture, which is central to the SweetWater brand, each can featured three sections of a rainbow trout: the head, body and tail. This allowed the cans to be stacked to form images of a full trout; the more cans stacked, the larger the trout. SweetWater then encouraged its fans to post photos of their stacked cans forming a trout with #fishforafish. For every photo shared with the hashtag, SweetWater stocked a live, healthy trout into one of the waterways of the region.


Beginning in October of 2017, every can and pack of both SweetWater 420 Pale Ale and SweetWater IPA got the new #fishforafish design. And for two months, you could find them everywhere you could find SweetWater.

To spread the word, we turned to the people our cause was going to impact the most directly—fishing guides. We partnered with fishing guides throughout the Southeast, gave them plenty of our fish cans to take on their excursions, and relied heavily on their authentic content creation, clientele and following. We even worked with them to come up with the most meaningful partners.

Beyond leveraging their influence, we also captured content with them on the water, posing with our stackable fish cans in iconic photo styles that are true to fishing culture. The images and video captured were used on everything from POS to Social/Digital, all helping to support the #fishforafish cause.


Fans of fishing and of SweetWater immediately rallied behind the cause. The limited-edition cans flew off the shelves. 420 and IPA beer sales in October and November were up 32% compared to the same time the previous year.

As a result, cans were being stacked and #fishforafish pics were being shared at a rapid rate. With thousands of unique shares, an estimated 2.3M impressions and 42K+ social engagements, the brand saw a +65% lift in social activity vs. the same time the previous year. Overall, the community embraced it; sentiment of social activity was 90% positive.

And most importantly, all of this meant thousands of healthy trout were put into the waterways of the Southeast to fuel healthy management of the ecosystems . It's a program that will continue to make a difference, as #fishforafish will return annually to give back to places the SweetWater community values so deeply.

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