'Something's Brewing' at Blue Moon

'Artfully Crafted' Comes to an End

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Blue Moon has long portrayed itself as an artsy craft beer, most recently with stop-motion ads that show the brew's ingredients being painted into a picture.

But that approach has apparently gone stale with the newest generation of drinkers, prompting the MillerCoors-owned brand to update its marketing. The tagline "artfully crafted" is replaced by "something's brewing" in a new campaign that seeks to redefine how the brand connects itself to creativity.

"It's less about a painting hanging on a wall and it's really about the idea of creating. And so it's not just a finished end product, it's the process of creating," said Ashley Selman, the brewer's VP-marketing for emerging and economy brands and a former senior marketing director at MillerCoors' craft and import beer division.

The campaign marks the debut effort for Venables Bell & Partners of San Francisco, which won the Blue Moon creative account late last year.

In the first ad, Blue Moon founder Keith Villa narrates a scene that begins in Brussels, Belgium, where he earned a Ph.D. in brewing. The city is depicted using an artform called kirigami, which is a type of origami using cut paper. Oranges are shown falling from the sky, as Mr. Villa describes the creative process behind the beer.

The citrus fruit played a key role in the brand's creation in 1995. Mr. Villa's unique take on traditional Belgian wheat beers involved using Valencia orange peels rather than the tart Curacao orange peel. It gave the beer a sweetness and he added oats to give it a creamier texture.

Blue Moon has long used oranges in its marketing. But in this case the fruit is used "as a source of inspiration versus more of an ingredient story," Ms. Selman said, noting future ads will involve artists talking about the sources of their inspiration. The "something brewing" tagline is a reference to "how creativity evolves and what role it plays in people's lives," she said.

The high-minded concept differs from the comedic approach that Blue Moon competitor Shock Top is using in a new campaign that broke during the Super Bowl. Ads for the brand, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, show comedian and actor T.J. Miller bantering with the brand's wise-cracking Wedgehead orange mascot.

Blue Moon's goal is to connect with consumers "who also consider themselves very creative and appreciate beers and brands that share that creative spirit," Ms. Selman said.

The campaign comes as the brand rolls out a new package design that is hitting stores in the coming days. The design -- which Ad Age reported on late last year -- features a brighter look that includes a glass of beer shown garnished with an orange on all six-and 12-pack packaging.

This summer MillerCoors plans to open a Blue Moon brewery in Denver's arts district, a neighborhood known as Rino, that will be an incubator for new styles and beers. The brand will continue to operate its tiny Sandlot Brewery that is housed in Coors Field.

Read more about the campaign and see a behind-the-scenes film on Adage.com.

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Mar 15, 2016
Venables Bell & Partners San Francisco
Blue Moon
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