Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Bud Light Seltzer is a lazy, unimaginative name. I'm calling the biggest fail of 2020 regardless of how remarkable it tastes - because Bud Light = Beer.
Guess who else will be joining the fail club. Natural Light Seltzer.
Why on earth would you name a seltzer after your already existing beer?
Marketers should be weary of using their brand name across multiple segments. It is challenging and could end up a failure by doing so.
Rewind to the 90's when Coors introduced Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water. The water industry was booming, bottled water was virtually overnight billion dollar industry. There is no reason why a refreshing Rocky Mountain Spring Water would fail when the industry was so hot. The fact of the matter is, Coors failed to produced a winning product because when people think Coors they think beer. Take the name Coors off and see how much more delicious it sounds even thought it is lengthy.
Rocky Mountain Spring Water vs. Coors Rocky Mountain Spring Water
Hard Proof #2:
Gap started a designer brand of jeans that took off. Then they started a more affordable brand called Old Navy which also took off. Both thanks to outstanding advertising commercials on TV. Notice, the executives at Gap did not use the Gap name in anyway to launch the brand because it would ruin its brand recognition. They were stretching the product name down by making a more affordable brand, in addition to going after a completely different target market.
J. Crew was a leading brand when Michael Drexler, the genius behind Gap's success and introducing Old Navy, took control as the CEO. J. Crew was struggling and Drexler wanted to use his Old Navy idea to save the company. He would have done just that if chose a different name. He decided to name the more affordable brand J. Crew Mercantile. Needless to say in a short few years they closed the stores down.
Let those be the examples that in marketing you should NEVER " water down your brand". It is never a bad idea to try and syphon more money out of an already existing market you are competing in. It is a bad idea when you stretch your current brand name as the way to do it.
Hard Proof #3:
White Claw was the first brand in the hard seltzer industry so naturally they grew faster than everyone else. The seltzer industry is going to continue to grow, and they will continue to lead this market for quite some time just for being first. Being first in a category is almost a guaranteed victory.
Interestingly, White Claw is owned by the same brand that produces Mike's Hard Lemonade. They could have possibly even went with Mike's Hard Seltzer because of the markets are closer than beer to seltzer. They were smart to not mix and mingle the two.
I will make a hypothesis and return to grade myself later. Boston Beer Company came out with their own Seltzer. Truly Seltzer. Now the parent company owns Sam Adams and Dogfish Head beers. This brand will reign over Bud Light and Natural Light Seltzer's because of its name. Truly came into the Seltzer game earlier then Bud Light and Natural Light, so we will say that there is an unfair advantage. Fine.
MillerCoors plans to release a Seltzer later this year called Vizzy. I hypothesize that Vizzy will sell more than both Bud Light and Natural Light Seltzers combined...
Marketing Lesson Learned: Be careful spreading your brand name thin. It loses power the more places you put it.