EDO TeamJune 26, 20244 min read

Why TV Viewers Thirst for Hard Seltzer Ads This Summer

As temperatures rise, so does competition in the Alcohol TV advertising space. Earlier this year, EDO reported on the category’s surge in ad effectiveness during the 2023-2024 NFL season, signaling a renewed appetite for spirited messaging. Now, as we approach the 2024 summer months, another surprising contender is making waves: hard seltzers and lemonades are staging a comeback.

For media buyers in the Alcohol category, understanding these shifting tides is crucial for maximizing TV ad spend and impact. Let's dive into the latest category trends and explore how winning boozy brands are capturing consumer attention.


Bubbling up: Hard seltzers’ second wind in TV advertising

From June 2023 to May 2024, hard seltzer and lemonade brands made a significant splash in the advertising pool, airing approximately 27,000 national TV ads. This bubbly presence accounted for 13% of all Alcohol category airings. However, the path to consumer engagement wasn't always smooth sailing. Overall, these ads lagged behind the broader Alcohol category (beer, cider, pre-mixed cocktails, etc.) in terms of consumer engagement, driving 24% less online activity following each TV ad airing. 

But the tide began to turn in January 2024, with EDO's data revealing a dramatic 131% surge in airings and a 113% spike in ad effectiveness for hard seltzers and lemonades over the year to-date. Leading this comeback has been successful TV campaigns from category leaders like White Claw and Twisted Tea, proving that with the right approach, these summer-friendly libations can indeed drive successful TV advertising outcomes.

In the weeks before Memorial Day weekend, the momentum grew even faster. From May 6 to May 25, EDO observed a 19% increase in ad effectiveness for the category, suggesting that consumers are increasingly receptive to these refreshing options as temperatures rise and social calendars fill up with parties and summer events. 


White Claw leads the way among Alcohol advertisers

While the Alcohol category has had its ups and downs, some brands have consistently delivered strong TV ad performances. 

Leading the pack is White Claw, the undisputed champion of the past year. Consumers were a staggering 169% more likely to engage with White Claw ads compared to the average category advertiser. The brand’s dominance was further cemented in April 2024 with the launch of a new campaign. These TV spots, among the top-performing Alcohol creatives of the year, appeal to Gen Z with the slogan "Grab Life by the Claw" and introduce a new Vodka + Soda product featuring comedian J.B. Smoove.

Not far behind, Twisted Tea has been brewing up engagement rates 105% higher than the category average, securing a solid third place in the category’s overall TV ad performance. The brand's success has been driven by a football-themed campaign first aired in 2022 that continues to resonate with viewers, featuring a brand spokesperson and superfans selected from the brand's social media channels.

Sandwiched between these two, Smirnoff held its own with consumer engagement 129% above the category average, rounding out a diverse top three in Alcohol TV advertising effectiveness.


White Claw and Twisted Tea’s winning TV ad recipes

From its first airings in April 2024, White Claw's "Grab Life by the Claw" campaign has proven to be a smash hit. The best-performing creative, a 30-second campaign spot featuring Paul Russell’s infectious good-vibes anthem, “Lil Boo Thang,” was a staggering 373% more effective than the category average. 

Twisted Tea's long-running “Game Day Kick Off” campaign also continues to score points with viewers. Although these ads first aired in August 2022, every creative has registered as at least 200% more effective than the average Alcohol ad, with its “Pool Party” and “Play Ball” spots surpassing 270% greater effectiveness. 

There are a few common themes across winning ads. Recognizable pop songs forge an instant connection with viewers, while scenes of outdoor social gatherings tap into the summer mindset. And celebrity cameos, as evidenced by J.B. Smoove's appearance for White Claw, continue to draw attention and lend credibility to brands.


Cheers to more effective TV advertising

As hard seltzers and lemonades make their summer comeback, several key lessons emerge for Alcohol advertisers. Measuring ad effectiveness is crucial; understanding how campaigns perform relative to category benchmarks can inform optimization of spend; and embracing successful creative approaches, whether it's White Claw's youthful energy or Twisted Tea's sports-themed authenticity, can help brands find a unique angle that resonates with their audience. 

Timing is also everything — the surge in TV ad engagement leading up to Memorial Day weekend underscores the importance of aligning campaigns with holidays and peak demand periods. As we enter the summer months, brands that can capture the spirit of the season while delivering compelling messages stand to gain significant market share.


Ready to elevate your Alcohol advertising strategy? Discover how EDO's TV outcomes measurement can provide the insights you need to make data-driven decisions and maximize your campaign impact. Contact us today to learn how we can help you ride the wave of summer advertising success.


Know What Works. Always.

Sign up for EDO's weekly newsletter to get the latest TV advertising insights straight to your inbox.