Bud Light quarantines its seltzer mascot

Labatt follows proper safety regulations to bring "Seltzy" over the border and build hype in a competitive category.

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Labatt is bringing its latest innovation to life, promoting the launch of its Bud Light Seltzer in Canada by placing a new mascot that literally embodies the product in quarantine.

The mascot, a big seltzer can named Seltzy, is “quarantined” for 14 days in a glass box on the roof of the LCBO store at Front Street and Spadina Avenue in downtown Toronto while they document their exploits on the brand’s social media accounts. The quarantine began on Friday after the character “arrived” in Canada from the United States, where Bud Light Seltzer launched at the beginning of 2020.

The brand is aiming to create hype for the launch of its seltzer product here in Canada on April 9 (when Seltzy’s quarantine ends), says Mike D’Agostini, senior director of marketing for Bud Light at Labatt.

Bud Light is bringing the seltzer to Canada in response to a demand it has seen in the marketplace for alcoholic alternatives to its existing core products.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth – double-digit growth – in the vodka soda and seltzer category, so we knew there was consumer demand there,” says D’Agostini. “We know that innovation in this category is very important but it’s also very competitive. We needed to break through in a way that we would get noticed and talked about.”

In the U.S., Bud Light Seltzer has helped parent company AB InBev get a foothold in the alcoholic seltzer category, which has been growing thanks to buzzy brands like White Claw and an overall shift in the alcohol market away from beer and towards ready-to-drink cocktails when it comes to casual occasions. It grew its share of seltzers from 9% to 14% in the space of one year, and the company grew its overall market share in the U.S. for the first time in eight years. In a push that began in February, the company also plans to spend $1 billion USD globally over the next two years on seltzer products, which includes legacy offerings like Spiked Seltzer and offerings under other brands, like the Michelob Seltzer that was released in January.

D’Agostini says Bud Light Seltzer, like the parent brand, has a broad target: anyone who is into a light, refreshing beverage, and connects with its playful and fun brand voice. And like other big brewers, Labatt sees innovation as way to bring consumers into its core brand and business.

“Hard seltzer is bringing consumers back to the beer category,” D’Agostini explains. “Expanding our hard seltzer portfolio with Bud Light Seltzer and the power of our distribution network will only help the category grow, which is great for beer overall. This is just another way to speak to our audience and provide them with a product they want.”

Bud Light Seltzer is launching in Canada in four flavours: black cherry (represented by Seltzy), lemon-lime, strawberry and mango. But the beverage has been “an innovation powerhouse” in the U.S., D’Agostini says, where additional flavours have been launched. Canadians will have to “wait and see” if those flavours cross the border.

Screen Shot 2021-03-30 at 9.47.43 AMWhile additional marketing for Bud Light Seltzer remains under wraps, D’Agostini did note that Seltzy “will play a big role in everything we do all year long.” Seltzy has also taken over Bud Light Canada’s Instagram channel, providing updates on what he is up to in quarantine and soliciting suggestions on how to pass the time.

The campaign was devised in a joint effort with creative agency Anomaly, PR agency Veritas and XM agency Salt.