Crown Imports' marketing push to make Corona Light the beer of choice for active men and women ages 21 to 29 is moving into social media, with an ambitious Facebook initiative that includes featuring fans' photos on a 150-foot digital billboard in Manhattan's Times Square.
The program, from the brand's digital agency of record, Pereira & O'Dell, frankly declares its goal of making Corona Light the "Most Liked Light Beer" on Facebook.
The efforts to woo active young adults to sign on as fans on the brand's Facebook page span display ads, digital out-of-home, search marketing and other social media. The digital media strategy, created by Horizon Media, includes roadblocks designed to drive consumers to the Facebook promotion from Break.com, NFL.com and other sites popular with the demographic.
A key draw: Those who "like" Corona Light will be invited to upload their photos for projection on the Times Square digital billboard starting Nov. 8 (and running through Dec. 6). In addition, images from Times Square, including the billboard, will be posted on Facebook, so that those featured on the billboard can watch for their moments in the spotlight and share them with friends.
The Facebook popularity campaign is an integral part of Corona Light's new strategy to leverage its appeal to socially engaged young adults who are more focused on exciting activities and experiences than on "escaping" to a beach or other relaxing destinations.
The "escape" or "vacation in a bottle" approach, of course, has been highly successful for Corona Extra, the top-selling U.S. imported beer. (Indeed, with its new "Moments" campaign, Extra is seeking to convey that it's part of the wind-down experience in many settings, not just the beach scenarios long featured in the brand's advertising.) But with Corona Light bucking the general, economy-driven trend of slumping beer sales, Crown Imports is capitalizing on the opportunity to differentiate the brand more clearly from Extra's laid-back persona.
Sales-wise, Corona Light currently ranks eighth among light beers. But while leading light brands -- including Miller Lite, Bud Light and Coors Light -- have seen sales declines over the past year, Corona Light's consumer sales (including in bars and restaurants) were up 1% as of early August, Crown Imports told the New York Times. The brand's sales to retailers grew 4.8% and 3.6% in 2009 and 2008, respectively, following eight years of double-digit growth, the Times reported.
The new marketing strategy debuted in August with Corona Light's first stand-alone ad campaign, taglined "It Only Gets Better." The first TV spot, "Moonlight" (from Miami-based La Comunidad) shows a cadre of young adults enjoying the beer while frolicking in exotic beach and tropical forest settings -- and energetically continuing their revels into the night. (In a departure from the male-oriented approaches of many light and regular beer campaigns, this one gives equal emphasis to women.)
The advertising campaign will continue and will be expanded next year, with more creative executions and media channels. Meanwhile, the "Most Liked Light Beer" Facebook initiative will leverage social media's integral role in the lives of the target demographic to build on the brand's more active, social positioning.
The digital campaign is "the ideal way to make Corona Light active in the digital space and drive engagement and relevance with our consumers," summed up Crown Imports EVP, marketing Jim Sabia, who notes that featuring fans' photos in Times Square will serve to engage street crowds as well as to "rally" brand ambassadors by providing them with an exciting experience.