Arizona Hard is driving trial with bikes and seeding kits

After last year's success, the Molson Coors brand is employing more tactics to generate interest in a new flavour.

AriZona Hard 99 Cent Bikes - Photo 3

Arizona is riding the success of last year’s 99 cent bike promotion into another summer, while also coming to retail to promote its new Hard Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade flavour.

Arizona Hard launched in 2020, a collaborative effort between the iced tea brand and Molson Coors. This summer, Molson Coors is taking a regional approach to in-market tactics, with retail theatre supporting the launch of Half & Half, with branded POS at shelf, displays, gift with purchase programming and in-store sampling, explains Michelle Sowinski, senior marketing manager for Arizona at Molson Coors.

“Arizona Hard brings nostalgic drinkers into the hard tea category and grows basket size, so we’ll be leveraging shopper marketing assets to make an impact in-store,” Sowinski says.

The new product’s packaging is reminiscent of the retro style of the ‘90s: bright yellow and pink, with lemons to highlight the addition of lemonade and differentiate the product from the original Arizona Hard Iced Tea.

Sowinski tells strategy that the 90s staple conjures up memories of summers’ past for many millennials. Arizona Hard’s Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade flavour, she says, brings to life an iconic flavour pairing from the past, now with 5% alcohol, and is a natural extension to the brand’s pre-existing roster of beverages.

Sowinski says the new flavour plays into a growing trend in the iced tea space in which Arizona Hard is seeking to take share from key competitor Twisted Tea, the top-selling hard iced tea in Canada.

Arizona Hard Tea has grown exponentially behind the success of Green Tea, Lemon Iced Tea and Peach Iced Tea flavours. Sales are up 246% year-to-date, outpacing the hard iced tea category, which is up just 5.5% over the same period, according to its internal data.


Last summer, Arizona Hard released specially designed 99 cent bikes – featuring both the cherry blossom design and recognizable price of non-alcoholic Arizona Iced Tea – that sold out in under a minute with 35,000 online store visitors showing up.

The bikes are available again now, but are part of three rounds of merch drops to generate hype and keep momentum going through the summer.


Finally, an influencer component includes seeding kits that promote the Half and Half flavour by splitting the package in two to be shared. The kits were selected for shareability and to build awareness with target audiences through authentic, organic content, which also prompts in-store purchases.

“Our fun, brightly coloured kits encouraged social sharing through their unique, pull-apart unboxing experience, which made for engaging video content,” Sowinski says. By prompting recipients to gift “half” of the kit to their other “half,” we seamlessly integrated product branding right into the experience and encouraged additional trial and social sharing per package.”

While seeding kits can be an addition to a larger traditional sampling campaign, she explains that Arizona opted for an online-only strategy to reach 90s nostalgists, the target market.

The strategy for Arizona Hard Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade was developed by Mischief, Citizen Relations managed PR for the launch (including the seeding kits), Volt managed the social media promotion and Wavemaker developed the media plan.