Thursday, May 24, 2012

MillerCoors takes another shot at Gen Y women, will this approach work?

In March MillerCoors announced that they were rebranding MGD64, their low cal beer for woman.  The renamed product – Miller 64, is now being marketed to both sexes using a lifestyle approach.

Now comes word that in June they will try a different tactic, this time focusing on flavored products.  Specifically they are introducing Coco Breve, a coconut water-infused clear malt beverage that comes in flavors like Kiwi Lime and Mango Citrus.

There’s no doubt that coconut water is the latest beverage fad.  But perhaps more important is the fact that their research shows that Gen Y ladies seek variety in their beverages unlike previous generations who tended to be more loyal. (Schultz, 2012)

So what do you think?  Does Gen Y crave variety?  Will Coco Breve appeal to them?  Does it appeal to you?  Personally I prefer Guinness. 

Schultz, EJ. (2012, May 21)  MillerCoors Aims For Mercurial Millennials With New Fruity Brands. Retrieved May 23, 2012, from


  1. This focuses on an issue common to the alcohol industry. Will people stick with brand loyalty and what they know or will they try new products? According to Mintel reports from the end of last year, older consumers stick with their favorites (25+), while younger consumers (21-24) will venture out to try new things. For groups 25-34 and 35-44, the two most important attributes when deciding a brand is the "brand I have always drunk" and the "quality of ingredients". However, among 25-34, recommendations from friends and family members are the most effective marketing strategy. Additionally, females gravitate strongly toward flavored drinks and spirits. For instance, Captain Morgan rum is the preferred rum for 25-34 men, while Malibu is the preferred rum for 25-34 female. Based on this information at hand, flavored drinks could be very successful with the right strategy and marketing mix. Women prefer flavor and the Gen Y's will gravitate towards influence from their friends to try new things. The key is tapping into the "trend setters" in the group. My initial suggestion would be guerrilla marketing tactics where attractive young men will be on hand at popular venues to offer women free Coco Breve tasting. However, one group that is frequently over looked in the alcohol industry is the gay community, which never made sense to me because this group has the most disposal income per capita. At the gay pride parade two years ago, Bacardi introduced the pink daiquiri with coconut water that substantially reduced the calories. They watched sales spike 800% over the next three weeks. However, the head of marketing decided to go no further with any additional marketing to the gay community. This is a segue to my assumption that MillerCoors will advertise using traditional approaches, spending way too much money. Instead, the money could be reallocated to inexpensive tactics, like the previous mentioned, and use the additional money to target the gay community with the same product. I believe one key to both target audiences is flavor and calorie count. From direct experience talking to women and gay men regarding alcohol consumption, the calories in a drink carry weight into a decision about a drink.

    (Mintel - Spirits: The Consumer - US - September 2011)

  2. As Gen Y woman, I like being able to choose from a variety of options. Gen Y women enjoy having the freedom of selection, and more importantly they value their health and happiness. This generation grew up with dieting fads (i.e. Atkins, South Beach) and alternative exercise programs (Yoga, Zumba, etc.). Overall, they are a health conscious group. Gen Y women want to easily incorporate healthy options into their daily life. But of course they want to accomplish a balanced wellness lifestyle with minimal effort! This rings true with alcoholic beverages. One brand that achieved huge success is Skinnygirl cocktails. They offered a variety of low calorie Margarita mixed drinks that served as a healthier substitute. MillerCoors can use this same idea by incorporating a healthier beer option with its coconut malt beverage.

    I think Coco Breve certainly has the potential of being successful, but one thing to keep in mind is long-term success. Gen Y women are less loyal to brands. If MillerCoors does not deliver what they promise with Coco Breve, Gen Y women will simply move on to the next product without hesitation. As long as they are able to back up their product, produce a multitude of flavors, and generate more products from this unique idea, then it should theoretically be a long-enduring healthier beer alternative. It sounds like something new and fun to try, and I would say this product definitely appeals to me – I’m just a little skeptical on how a coconut infused malt beverage tastes!

    1. Hi,

      You all have made great points. Speaking for myself, I would never drink Coco Breve. Due to a medical condition I don't drink alcoholic beverages of any kind let alone one with coconut flavor. Furthermore, I can’t claim to know much about alcohol, wine, or any other kind of spirits. I only know what I read about and see on TV. I stick mostly to lemon flavored iced tea, to water and to Diet Coke. So, I would probably not be a primary target consumer for marketing the new malt liquor beverage.

      But I do think there is a market for variety in flavored alcoholic drinks such as Coco Breve malt liquor as well as other varieties of beer, wine, spirits and pretty much every kind of beverage one can think of offering Generation Y. And I think that Generation Y is a big part of that, because they do seek variety in the products that have become popular in their lifetime.

      Just look at the amazingly successful 1990’s rise of the various flavored coffees and teas pioneered by Starbucks. Look at the variety in flavored vitamin water which became popular with consumers in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. As Maureen pointed out, television personality, Bethenny Frankel even recently founded the new Skinnygirl line of spirits that have been gaining in popularity. And members of Generation Y are more health conscious than their predecessors, so any drink that claims to be easy on the waist is going to have a good shot at success.

      So, in answering Professor Lehrer’s question, yes I do believe that MillerCoors’ new, Coco Breve will appeal to Generation Y because they crave variety and are willing to try new things. The trick may be, however, keeping their business for the long term if the product doesn’t taste really great. The other issue will also be how to market the beverage to the other generations such as Gen X and Baby Boomers who compose a major piece of the consumer pie, and who have pretty much settled in and stayed loyal to their preferred drink of choice.

      Jason S. Grant

  3. MillerCoors efforts will not succeed because I see it with my own children who are GenY; they prefer to drink wine first, brand name beer next (Bud/Coors/Miller). While my children are part of the GenY, they are by no means the standard; they are just a member of the Gen.

    If research suggests that this group is more likely to enjoy tropical beverages more than traditional beer, certainly then my daughters aren’t typical for this product. However, I do applaud MillerCoors for giving it a name that suggests fun and I hope that the name of Miller or Coors is absent from any of the branding since the MDB didn’t prove successful.

    Also, I don’t see changing the advertising agency as the means to achieving their marketing goals either. While the agency might be highly talented in the beer trade, MillerCoors might have been better to sign up with an agency that is more into the spirits trade since that’s where the research points for GenY.

    Does GenY crave variety? They certainly choose variety in nearly all other facets of their life and I can’t see why alcohol consumption would be any different.

    - Kevin

  4. Do I believe Gen Y craves variety? Absolutely. As the summer season approaches I believe that consumers are willing to switch brands in the search of their summer drink. As a previous poster (Monica) commented, Skinnygirl Margaritas has had tremendous success in gaining new consumers, especially in this Gen Y demographic.

    I would argue that the Coco Breve product line will appeal to the Gen Y group, however I do not feel this is the only product that will appeal to this group. There are so many other brands out there with competing products. For example, look at Bud Light with its continued push of the “Lime” category with the Lime-A-Rita product. Though this product peaked in 2009 and has seen a 13% drop in shipments in 2011 (, Bud Light has continued to support this product as the cost of discontinuing two other lines.

    In order for Coco Breve to be successful in obtaining traction in this category, I feel they must make significant investments in advertising to increase awareness as compared to other competing lines. Further, MGD must have the inventory and distribution setup so that if this product does “tip” in the marketplace, they are prepared to reap the benefits.

    I personally do not see myself purchasing this product, however if my wife does buy it, I would not mind tasting it (in secret of course since I’m a male and need to drink manly beers, per society).

    -Karan Pandya

  5. I don't see any reason it can't succeed. It sounds like Mike's Hard Lemonade with a female/upscale twist. Plus there's the coconut water, and I doubt anyone ever lost money adding a dubious implied health benefit to an inherently unhealthy product.

    Speaking as an unabashed a fan of tropical drinks, if it tastes good it's entirely possible I'd get caught buying the odd six-pack in the dog days of summer.

    -Kevin Kobasic

  6. I think that two of the most important factors to the success of this product has already been decided upon: it's name, and its taste. It's clearly going to be dominated by women, UNELSS you get a surprise and unexpected male audience (anyone ever heard of getting "iced???" ). Either way, I think that Gen Y women are going to have to buy into the "Coco Breve" brand be honest I have no reaction to "Breve," and wouldn't even know how to pronounce it without being told.

    I do agree that Gen Y women are more likely to experiment with different drinks, but lets be honest here: if the drink tastes like crap, that experiment will be short-lived. Coconut water got huge last year mainly (in my eyes) for the fact that it capitalized on the HYDRATING factor. I actually had a carton of coconut water last week, knowing that I didn't like the taste of the product, but knowing that it may help my hangover. I've been to concerts which have sold Coconut water in large quantities, because everyone is drinking (and probably on drugs as well) and are looking to stay hydrated. Maybe for this product to succeed, they could try positioning it as the alcoholic drink that hydrates...this could totally backfire but it might be worth taking the shot. Advertising is about distinguishing your product, no? Simply "the new fruity alcoholic drink" isn't different enough on its own.

    -Ben Gold

  7. I believe that generation Y does not crave variety they just crave
    more of a particular item that they want.

    Personally I don't care for
    beer in a any capacity I am more of a spirits man myself however in
    the spirits category there way too much flavor alcohol varieties not
    my opinion but just fact.

    The succession of the Coco Breve will be on
    the marketing but the of appeal coconut water is based on a health
    perspective and the idea to mix health drink with alcohol would be
    beverage suicide. I love coconut water but I would not buy it because
    drinking out of a coconut is far less cheap than paying the ridiculous
    price that markets sell it for. On the other hand, I am spoiled and
    from the Caribbean so the mark up on coconut water is extraordinary.

    This malt beverage is so far from appealing to me it reminds me of
    Zima and we all remember how successful that malt beverage was.


  8. I certainly agree Gen Y craves variety because they were raised in a world with constant variety unlike any generation preceding them. Even today, whether it be hundreds of channels on television, an endless amount of electronics, or, more pertaining to this case, countless varieties of soft drinks, fruit drinks, alcoholic drinks, etc. have attributed to a shortened attention span and a headache walking down the isle in your local supermarket. Consumers have more options than ever, which is likely why brand loyalty, especially with Gen Y, has diminished.

    I do believe that Coco Breve has a legitimate shot of breaking into the flavored malt beverage market. Though stiff competition already established in the marketplace exists, including Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice varieties, the recent popularity of coconut water makes this an attractive product. According to the Wall Street Journal, coconut water boasted $400 million in retail sales last year. This is an integral factor in my decision. The increased and growing popularity of this beverage, in addition to a planned marketing strategy appealing to image conscious, health conscious young females, leads me to believe that this brand can be successful for MillerCoors.

    Personally, Coco Breve doesn’t sound the least bit appealing. But I can certainly see my female friends enjoying this beverage during the summer months.

    - Jeff

  9. I think that MillersCoors is on the right track with its Coco Breve line. I'm a Gen Y female and I do like variety -- options -- but I tend to be loyal to brands that have proven great.

    Pinkberry frozen yogurt comes to mind. The plain yogurt flavor is the staple and the other flavors (pomegranite, mango, pumpkin, etc) rotate. I would sample the other flavors, while knowing in the back of my mind that if all else fails, the plain yogurt is solid. I think this would be a great strategy for Coco Breve as a product geared toward Gen Y women.

    I didn't read any mention of a plain coconut Coco Breve drink, but I could see myself trying this out. I'm a yoga-loving, coconut-drinking, health-conscious Gen Y woman and LOW CAL, TASTE and INTRIGUE are what lure me in.

    I think that this drink line could work. If it is low calorie, then that is a huge plus. Add on to that flavor combinations (afterall, you MIX drinks, right?) that work and even better. Marketing takes up the last part. Is it intriguing or just a passing fad?

    I'm definitely intriguted to see how MillerCoors packages and brands this new product. The "Breve" part of the name makes me think of espresso more than alcohol, but I'm open to seeing what unfolds.

    Could be great!


  10. The Gen Y women market is very influential target segmentation. In fact, these niche groups are very health conscious nowadays as compared to other target markets. Also, they want a product that speaks to their needs regarding drinking responsibly and watching caloric intake as well. With this new Coco Breve malt beverage advertisers must create lifestyle 'connectivity' with this group. Creating authentic advertising campaigns without being intrusive is key to a successful ad campaign and results a yield in sales.

    - Altovise.

  11. As a Gen Y woman I don't believe this will be very successful. However, this is mainly because I wouldn't drink it. Don't get me wrong, it's not because I don't like trying new things, I often try new liquors once or twice (Smirnoff "Dude", "Cake" vodka, Skinnygirl, etc).

    Beer/wine coolers are a little different than these flavored vodkas in my opinion. I would not order this at a bar, or purchase it to drink at home just to try. There are multiple reasons for this.

    1. If I'm going low-cal, I opt for the light beers. Brands I know, like Miller Lite. Mostly because they are cheap and everywhere has it. I have thought about ordering MG64 and still haven't because the alcohol content is much lower, and it is more expensive.

    2.BIG FACTOR: My friends and I mainly drink coconut water when we are hungover to rehydrate. I would never want a drink that tastes like this.

    3. If I wanted something fruity, I would go with an established brand like Mike's Hard Lemonade. However, I wouldn't order this at a bar. I feel like there is an unattractive stigma attached to it and I would only drink at a bbq or by the pool. It is also too sweet to have more than one.

    One plus this product has is that most people usually have to decide if they want something low-cal or something fruity. I am not one of these, but I can see it selling initially because it's a cool, new drink that solves a problem some women have.

    Ultimately, I do not see enough repeat purchases being made and therefore being discontinued. It sounds a lot like a repeat of Zima which other people have commented, and there is a lot of competition from established brands.

    I'll stick with my Miller Lite!