Creativity Brand Strategy

White Claw launches premium White Claw Surf, taps Ivy Miller and other pro surfers for new campaign

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

March 14, 2022 | 5 min read

For years, White Claw has outperformed every other hard seltzer in the US. Now the brand is leaning into innovation with a new full-flavored premium product line and a new TV spot featuring three professional surfers.

With summer beckoning, the world’s top-selling hard seltzer brand White Claw is debuting White Claw Surf. The new premium product offers three bolder flavors than its traditional line: Tropical pomelo splash, Citrus yuzu smash and Wildberry acai smash. Each will command a premium price of $16.99-$17.99 per 12-pack.

To celebrate the product launch, the brand has partnered with a trio of professional surfers for a new ad campaign that showcases innovation – both in the world of surfing and in the world of hard seltzer.

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‘Surf like no other,’ features pro surfers Ivy Miller, Hunter Jones and Blair Conklin (credit: MSL Group)

The new campaign, made in collaboration with VCCP and titled ‘Surf like no other,’ features pro surfers Ivy Miller, Hunter Jones and Blair Conklin. The accompanying TV spot shows the three athletes surfing on a single board down a massive sand dune, shouting with joy. Another scene shows them surfing individually down the face of a snow-covered mountain. The connection is clear: just as these three athletes are bringing their sport to new extremes, White Claw is playfully experimenting with and expanding the possibilities for the hard seltzer category.

With their tropical flavor profiles, their unifying ‘smash’ theme and their design (which features a surfboard), the new products appear intended to evoke prototypical images of surfing in the minds of consumers. And just like surfing, the brand hopes that its new product line will stir up some excitement among its existing consumer base.

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“White Claw Surf is the biggest news in seltzer since the original launch of White Claw,” says John Shea, chief marketing officer at White Claw US. “[It’s] a breakthrough new idea that combines full flavors with sensational refreshment and the incredible sessionability expected from White Claw. It is our next exciting addition and something completely new and different in the world of seltzer.”

White Claw is also aiming to boost revenue and establish a more premium brand image with its latest product launch, says David Steinman, vice-president and executive editor at Beer Marketer’s Insights. “White Claw Surf is positioned as a slightly higher-end version of White Claw. They’re doing these more elaborate flavors and they’re looking to price it just a little above the core White Claw [products]. They’re taking a proactive approach towards trying to premiumize its seltzer lineup.”

Launched in 2016, White Claw quickly ascended to the pinnacle of the hard seltzer industry. According to Steinman, the brand’s sales spiked dramatically during the beginning of the pandemic. “2020 was a huge year of growth ... for White Claw and hard seltzer in general.” he says. White Claw was the top-selling hard seltzer in 2021 per Business Insider, followed by Truly. Last year also marked the beginning of White Claw’s global marketing strategy.

White Claw was due for an infusion of originality – which it hopes to deliver with White Claw Surf, says Steinman. The brand has been feeling “the constant demand of innovation,” a form of pressure familiar to most beer, hard seltzer and soda brands. Last year, White Claw released its third variety pack, which Steinman says “started to cannibalize the original [variety packs].”

The new campaign will revolve around the ‘Surf Tour Series,’ in which Miller, Jones and Conklin will continue their all-terrain surfing feats, “[proving] that it is possible to surf anywhere, from snowy hills and sand dunes to fountains, canals, rivers and lakes around the US.” The tour will be shared via the brand’s and the athletes’ social media channels beginning tomorrow, March 15, and will conclude at this year’s South by Southwest Festival (SXSW). White Claw, the official hard seltzer of SXSW, will have a physical presence at the festival, including a panel with the three surfers in which they will discuss “the future of surf.”

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