Saltwater Brewery (SWB) had a problem--its core product, the six-pack, was contributing to the death of seabirds and ocean wildlife after these animals would eat its plastic ring holders. Solution: an edible ring holder.
Working with agency We Believers, the craft beer maker is hoping to spark a revolution through its new campaign to introduce the first edible six-pack ring container.
We Believers has equity in this project. The agency originally brought the idea to SWB, which felt the project aligned with its brand mission to be environmentally friendly. The two companies are in the process of patenting the packaging together with a small startup of young engineers in Mexico.
"It’s important to keep in mind this process includes application for patents and overall investment has been in the six-figure range," says Marco Vega, co-founder, We Believers. Production cost is expected to be between 10 and 15 cents per piece and could drop to be even lower. "Very much on par with existing recyclable plastic alternatives," adds Vega.
The promotional effort for the project kicks off with an educational video designed to be spread virally that describes how these rings are 100% biodegradable, made with barley and wheat byproducts of the beer making process.
Instead of killing animals, this product feeds them.
The video ends with a call-to-action to encourage the "big guys" such as international beer brands and larger craft breweries to switch to these rings.
"At the agency, we realized it was a unique opportunity to go beyond any kind of advertising campaign and have a brand reflect its vision on the product itself," says Gustavo Lauria, also a co-founder, We Believers. "An idea that would impact the product and build the brand at the same time."
The campaign is supported with point-of-purchase signage as well as social media coverage. SWB has a strong online presence with over 24K Facebook and 11K Instagram followers. The effort is aimed at SWB's target buyer: surfers, fishermen, and anybody who loves the ocean.
"The biggest surprise is honestly that this has not been done before, with plastic being so harmful for the environment, it’s very surprising that big brewers haven’t jumped on this already," says Vega.
Now, the company is moving forward to develop machinery that will ramp up production to 400,000 edible rings per month.