Bud Light Seltzer arrives in Canada, goes directly into quarantine

Who: Bud Light, with Anomaly for creative, Salt for experiential, Veritas for PR, and Vizeum for media.

What: Bud Light Seltzer’s Canadian launch campaign, built around “Seltzy”—a life-sized can of Bud Light Black Cherry Seltzer.

When & Where: The campaign started today (March 26) with a quirky Covid-inspired activation in downtown Toronto, with other media, including mass advertising, running into the summer.

Why: The hard seltzer market has taken off in the past couple of years, with White Claw exploding not just as a popular drink, but a pop culture phenomenon. According to Nielsen, the category grew by about 160% in the U.S. alone last year, reaching $4.1 billion in sales.

Bud Light was a bit late to the party, launching its Bud Light Seltzer in the U.S. last year (four years after White Claw’s debut). To launch in Canada, the brewer and its agency partners anthropomorphized a can of seltzer as a way to literally introduce the brand to Canadians.

How: Since Seltzy is coming to Canada from the U.S., the mascot is being forced to follow Covid protocols and quarantine for two weeks. Seltzy will be in a glass box on top of an LCBO in downtown Toronto for the next 14 days, “entertaining” onlookers in nearby buildings.

“We loved the idea of putting Seltzy’s mandated 14-day quarantine on display,” said Leanne Bernardo, vice-president at Salt XC. “Not only is quarantining a relevant and relatable topic for many, but making Seltzy’s quarantine public is a fun way for Canadians to get to know Seltzy better… a unique way for Bud Light to introduce a new product to the market in a relevant and memorable way.”

Outside the glass box: Bud Light will be using its social channels to share some of Seltzy’s time in lockdown, and Seltzy will be making appearances at major cities across Canada once the quarantine period is over. “They are also part of our television advertising and will be the ‘face’ of Seltzer moving forward,” said Mike D’Agostini, senior director of marketing, Bud Light.

Seltzy will feature in digital and social buys, and will also appear at Covid-safe sampling programs across the country in the warmer months. “Seltzy is a great character and putting them on display gave us the opportunity to bring their character to life for the first time—but it’s just the start of a summer of Seltzy,” said D’Agostini.

And we quote: “We know that the Seltzer category is attractive to the Gen Z audience, which is Bud Light’s target demographic, so we are hoping the introduction of Seltzy draws them in through the access to engage across all social platforms and hopefully, in person events and interactions in the future.” — Mike D’Agostini, senior director of marketing, Bud Light.

David Brown