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    Keystone Light strengthens media presence, rural ties to battle rivals

    • Keystone Light, owned by Molson Coors, is expanding its partnership with hunting lifestyle brand Realtree and boosting its media presence in a renewed effort to win the support of rural consumers, per a news release.
    • The effort, dubbed “Smooth is in Our Nature,” involves a custom camo pattern created for the beer by Realtree to appear on official merchandise and packaging. The camo will also be featured on in-store advertising.
    • Additionally, Keystone Light will launch its largest national TV campaign in years, with a focus on targeting racing and sports channels. It’s also increasing its influencer marketing efforts, focusing on personalities tied to hunting and fishing.

    Keystone’s latest campaign represents a continued tie-up with the budget beer brand and hunting lifestyle brand Realtree and it looks to further integrate its product into the outdoor lifestyle. Keystone has long targeted a rural consumer base, with more than half of the beer’s sales being in rural areas, per IRI data. The campaign could also signal an attempt to stoke competition for awareness against rivals like Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Busch Light as fears of a recession loom and consumers contemplate less expensive buys.

    Meant for hunting and fishing trips, the camo merchandise includes hats, shirts, outerwear and a smoker, among other items, and is available on Keystone Light’s recently launched e-commerce store. The pattern will also show up on Keystone Light’s 15-, 24- and 30-packs. Starting Sept. 1, fans will be able to enter to win merchandise through social media or by scanning in-store advertising, allowing the brand to tap into customer data.

    “We want to make sure we’re connecting as close as possible with our core Keystone Light fans. We’re not going after mass influencers. We want to support people who are relied on in everyday rural communities, talking about how you fix something or host the perfect event,” said Matt Lafferty, marketing manager for Keystone Light in a press release.

    To further engage rural consumers, Keystone is ramping up its TV buy-in and focusing on channels most likely to be watched by the group, including popular streaming channels. The brand will also ramp up influencer marketing efforts, a tactic that continues to gain traction with the rise of shoppable content and video.

    Keystone Light has long attempted to cultivate a devoted following, especially among those in rural and outdoor communities. Buyer loyalty is an essential part of its business, with nearly half of beer consumed by Keystone Light consumers being Keystone Light, according to Molson Coors. Molson Coors is also trying to push the drink as the budget alternative to Busch Light. The two are close in price, with a 30-pack of Busch Light going for $20.99 and a 30-pack of Keystone Light going for $19.99.

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