Corona adapts its identity for the ready-to-drink market

The brand's first non-beer beverage uses beachy vibes and sustainability to reach consumers that are into the laid-back attitude but still want an alternative.

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Corona is looking to elbow its way into an ever-crowded RTD space by making sure its first non-beer offering plays on the same things that draws consumers to its parent brand.

Corona Tropical is a sparkling beverage made with real fruit juice. To drive awareness, Corona Canada will be launching billboards featuring real fruit that passers-by can pick in Toronto and Vancouver – its two most popular markets – inspired by the real fruit juice in Corona Tropical, but also the lime garnish a Corona beer is known for. There will also be brand ambassadors nearby to hand out samples to be consumed at home.

The brand is also coming to life through traditional TV and cinema ads, influencer partnerships, social media and programmatic digital display.

Natalie Lucas, marketing director for the “Beyond Beer” portfolio at Labatt Breweries of Canada, tells strategy the launch is informed by internal data showing a nearly 20% growth rate in 2021 for the ready-to-drink category. In fact, she says the IWSR highlights Canada as a rapid growth market, with a 50% increased compound annual growth rate between 2020-2025.

With that in mind, the brand expanded as a way to offer a product to people who are looking for a beer alternative, but still “embrace the Corona lifestyle.” Lucas says the Corona brand name embodies the ultimate feeling of relaxation and immersion into nature, and it’s a brand born from the beach.

Beyond real fruit being a differentiator for Corona Tropical, the billboard activation also allows the brand to bring in a sustainability message that has been key to the brand in recent years. It hired a “Nature Ambassador” in 2021, and in 2019, highlighted sustainability efforts based around protecting threats to the ocean, beaches and shorelines associated with Corona, even fashioning mannequins out of discarded plastic to bring the problem of waste to life.

For this campaign, Corona partnered with Kae St. Kitts, a Toronto-based artist whose work prioritizes sustainable messages and mediums. The billboard is meant to give consumers a chance to immerse themselves in both the taste and feel of tropical paradise, without having a large impact on the environment.

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With the launch of Corona Tropical, Corona Canada says it wants to ensure the new can design would allow consumers to easily differentiate it from beer. The bright and colourful can design showcases Corona Tropical as a sparkling RTD, while also bringing the real fruit juice aspect to the forefront, through natural cues and vibrant colours.

Corona is bring three flavour SKUs to market: Lime & Cactus, Raspberry & Lemon and Grapefruit & Lemongrass.

Above-the-line creative for the campaign is being led by Corona’s U.S. agency Wieden+Kennedy, with the “Real Fruit Billboard” creative led by Labatt’s Canadian agency, Anomaly. Experiential is being led by Salt XC, with media by Dentsu, trade by Mosaic and PR by Veritas.