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Coors' campaign brews new local fans

Coors' campaign brews new local fans Hans Theisen

A note from managing editor Jodi Harris: 

I'm pleased that today's In Focus feature is written by Hans Theisen, EVP of national sales at Centro. It's worth pointing out that at the time of publication, Centro is sponsoring our Local Media Strategies coverage, but Hans' byline is in no way a part of that sponsorship. You can find a more detailed explanation of our editorial policy here or contact me directly with questions.

Summer evokes vivid images of sun, sand, barbeques, boating, NASCAR and baseball. While enjoying their summer, America's brewers and distributors are hoping that adult revelers are making their beer the beverage of choice. Each summer, beer brands struggle to find new innovative campaigns that will assure their brand is on the lips of every backyard barbequer, bar-hopper, social butterfly and tailgater.

This summer, Coors tapped Avenue A | Razorfish (AA | RF) to build a tri-state regional summer campaign that would get noticed. Differentiation in a ubiquitous and crowded marketplace is not easy. How could Coors reach the sought-after 21-35 male beer market with precision?

Local websites are among the most visited in every market. Regional campaigns tailored to local media are more effective than advertising targeted at national media. The relationship between consumers and their local media brands is unlike any other media relationship. Consumers visit these sites everyday, whether they are checking local sports scores or the weather forecast. This level of interaction creates both familiarity and trust, and thus is an ideal environment for brands to reach consumers in.

AA | RF turned to Centro and its platform of tri-state area publishers to execute its geo-messaged Coors Light campaign, designed to build awareness of the Coors Light brand within the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas, and at the New Jersey shore. Centro's platform and services facilitated AA | RF's purchase of online advertising real estate at several regional and local online publishers, including nj.com, pittsburghlive.com and the Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly websites. 

Author notes: Hans Theisen is EVP of national sales for Centro. Read full bio.

The campaign focused on Coors Light's key beer enthusiasts: men between the ages of 21-34 who consume six or more servings per week -- weekend warriors who are passionate about the cities they live in, their local bars and pubs and the events in which they participate. Whether at the shore or at a baseball game, this affinity group is oriented toward local identifiers. Important to the campaign's success was moving the target audience from occassional Coors Light drinkers to consumers that identify the Coors Light brand with their lifestyle, important events, games and parties.

With consumers inundated with marketing campaigns from competitors, AA | RF and Centro worked together to create a unique geo-targeted campaign for Coors with original content, pass-along value and calls to action. In order to increase awareness among new brand users and increase market share within premium light categories in the Philadelphia, Pittsburg metro areas and at the New Jersey shore, the campaign leveraged the national brand's creative in all online spots. By presenting creative with congruent tonality and referenceability, the campaign could clearly present the new Coors Light brand tag: "The World's Most Refreshing Beer." 

Each ad matches Coors Light with pastimes enjoyed by the male 21-34 age group, beginning with a series of online ads in the Pittsburgh Tribune that illustrates strong brand indentification with key affinity brands, such as the NFL and the MLB.

Leveraging Coors Light's official sponsorship of the NFL, the Pittsburgh local online spots include Coors' sponsorship of the Steelers Live website. The Pittsburgh MLB spot features the Coors Light sponsorship of the Pirates Scoreboard.


The Philadelphia Weekly spots engage readers with a countdown to happy hour concept. Each ad contains an in-ad clock, which counts the hours until 5 p.m. and offers readers the opportunity to search for happy hour offerings around the Philadelphia metro area.

Spots running across the Philadelphia City Paper engage readers by urging them to participate in micro-surveys, including: "Where in Olde City do you enjoy the World's Most Refreshing Beer & Center City Sips?" and "What Philly figure would you most like to enjoy a refreshing Coors Light with?" 

"I know that many publishers of alternative weeklies are continually impressed with the coordination, execution and success Centro's work, and this Coors Light campaign is no exception," said Paul Curci, publisher of the Philadelphia City Paper. "Our readers interacted with the campaign at a tremendous rate, which makes sense when you consider that people respond better to advertising when it is more relevant to the region and offers a local flavor." 

At the shore section of New Jersey.com, the strong call to action and local theme of the Coors Light campaign continues, inviting visitors to blog about their favorite New Jersey shore spots and post photos of their summer shore adventures. The popularity of each local media campaign led to healthy attendance at campaign events, driving the target market segment of 21-35-year-olds to live Coors Light events at popular bars and pubs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. 


The Coors Light campaign illustrates that local campaigns result in higher conversion rates. Agencies do not have to forgo the efficacy of local campaigns due to worries about contacting and tracking multiple campaigns with multiple publishers. With each ad matched with key affinity brands and appropriate media, agencies can be assured that their local campaign will run on contextually relevant and appropriate web pages.

The power of local online can only be fully realized when married with the power of well-executed interactivity and strategic placement. As this Coors Light execution demonstrates, when they all come together, the results can make "raving fans" of brands and publishers alike.

Mr. Theisen’s background specializes in helping grow sales forces and develop revenue generating opportunities and technologies for high tech startup companies. Theisen was most recently the Managing Director, Midwest for PointRoll, an...

View full biography


to leave comments.

Commenter: Jodi Harris

2007, September 17

Hi John, Thanks for your message. I certainly appreciate your input on our editorial, and how we can improve the quality of what we offer our readers. Our editors debated this particular article a bit and it was our decision that while the article does mention the part Centro played in creating the Coors campaign, it doesn't focus on Centro's specific capabilities or products in a blatantly promotional way. As a study on the anatomy of a local campaign, we felt it was worthy of publication. Your points are well taken, though, and I would like to thank you for opening this dialogue.

Commenter: John Van Wagner

2007, September 15

Hi Jodi - As a former journalist, I can appreciate your editor's note on this piece. As a current media sales exec, I enjoy learning what others in the industry are doing. I've met Hans and he seems to be a nice person and accomplished businessman. But, I can't help but feel a bit compromised here. This piece is pretty much an advertorial for Centro. That it coincides with Centro's sponsorship is inconsequential to me, though others may see that as a bit honerous. The subject is interesting but maybe it is better as an interview instead? Brad writes that your edit policy is not to publish pieces veiled as adverts. I think your filter failed when you featured Hans as the writer of a story about a Centro deal. John Van Wagner, VP/National Sales Development Winstar Interactive Media