Molson Coors puts rubber to the road with Arizona Hard promotion

The brewer is taking some valuable lessons on strategy from the success of a promotional bike sale for its Arizona Hard brand.
AriZona Hard Bike Key Visual

The recent success of a promotion run for its Arizona Hard line of products has Molson Coors buzzing.

The promotion, which saw the brand selling limited-edition bicycles in two online offerings, was an attempt to harness the power of earned media and word of mouth in order to market a new product: Arizona Hard’s two new flavours, peach iced tea and lemon iced tea.

According to Jessica Vieira-Teixeira, manager of brand public relations at Molson Coors, it tapped into pre-existing “awareness and excitement around the Arizona trademark.”

“We launched Arizona Hard just last year, and to tremendous reception. We had to increase production. We were getting a lot of organic sharing from consumers and pick-up on the earned media scene,” she explains. “We knew that brand love was there, so we sat back and said, ‘This is a brand that wants to be part of culture and is already part of culture. What conversations can we be a part of?’”

While looking at what was happening culturally during the pandemic, the team latched on to one quirky truth in particular: people were struggling to find bicycles.

“It was a huge problem last year, and it continues to be a problem this year. People want to spend time outside, and one of the ways they’re doing that is by getting on a bike,” says Vieira-Teixeira. “It was an insight that felt good for us. We talk about Arizona Hard being reminiscent of our youth, but it’s all grown up.”

To execute the promotion while achieving its desired marketing goals, the brand knew it had to incorporate “things we are known for,” and so it made sure the bikes were emblazoned with the recognizable Arizona designs – for its original hard green tea, but also for the two new flavours – and decided to sell the bikes at the original price point for the non-alcoholic Arizona Green Tea beverage, 99 cents.

“That is really what made it sticky,” says Vieira-Teixeira. “We wanted this campaign to be a quick read with the headlines – you read it once, and you’re hooked and excited.”

The brand took an earned-first approach to the promotion, and according to Vieira-Teixeira, “it did exactly what we wanted it to do.”

“We saw over 35,000 online store visitors show up promptly before 1 p.m. to purchase a bike,” she says. “That was very exciting, and we did a second drop about an hour later and we had nearly an equal number of people still waiting and refreshing the page.”

Now, Molson Coors is looking at the promotion as a potential model for future efforts.

“There are certain things that, when they work, should be repeated – if not identically, you should take a look at why they worked and dissect that,” Vieira-Teixeira says.

By tapping into a clear cultural need and harnessing ownable elements of the brand, Arizona Hard managed to promote its new flavours on a relatively limited budget – something, she says, “applies to other brands in our portfolio, too.”

“There are a lot of things that our other brands have ownable to them, and we need to lean into those things more, like we have here with Arizona Hard,” Vieira-Teixeira says.