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Analyzing the brand messaging of competing hard seltzer brands

hard seltzer cans

Aimed at the ‘clean living’ generation, hard seltzer brands became a huge hit in the US due to their low calorie and low sugar messaging. After this success, the brands behind these pre-mixed alcoholic cans of sparkling water set their sights across the Atlantic.

Over the last few months, hard seltzers have begun to appear on the shelves of British supermarkets and already the category is worth over £4.5 million in the UK, who knew that by simply adding alcohol to fizzy water, there would be such a hit?

Brands are using Relative Insight to analyse competitor websites and social media channels. The rush by existing American hard seltzer brands to capitalise on the British market, and the race by British brands to launch a new product got us interested in how the messaging of these brands compared. So, we chose four of the leaders, and dived into an analysis investigation of some of their content.

We utilised Relative Insight’s text analytics platform to analyse the competitor websites and social media channels of Two Brooks, Island Bay, White Claw and Mike’s Hard Seltzer, comparing the language used by each brand. This competitor and social media analysis helped us to discover some interesting differences between how brands are benchmarking themselves, and communicating with consumers.

Two Brooks

An independent, London-based drinks brand, Two Brooks are leaning hard on their British origins as part of their messaging. They are infinitely more likely than any of the other brands to talk about the ingredients in their drinks,as being British and about their British heritage.

They are also 16.1x more likely to use language that evokes a sense of calmness, and sensible responsible drinking such as using the phrase ‘gently infused’.

insight card - british
insight card - calmness

Island Bay

Island Bay’s messaging is particularly strong on their social channels, where they are 19.7x more likely than any of the others to make use of emojis. The decision to use emoji as part of the marketing messaging is interesting, as they are specifically replicating the language of a distinct target market.

This sense of fun is also replicated in the tone of voice around a UGC competition that they’re running to help consumers engage even further with their product.

insight card - competition
insight card - Island bay is a hard seltzer brand using emojis

White Claw

Owned by Mark Anthony Brands International, White Claw is one of the big leading brands in the hard seltzer market. The brand is 73.3x more likely to describe the refreshing qualities of their drinks.

White Claw are also 11.1x more likely to talk about how consumers can buy their products in stores, using quite practical language and informing people about which supermarkets their products are stocked in.

insight card - availability in stores
insight card - refreshment


Mike’s Hard Seltzer was rebranded earlier this year from the very British sounding ‘sparkling water’ to the more universal ‘seltzer’.  Their brand messaging includes extensive use of personal pronouns including ‘I’, ‘us’ and ‘me’, which creates a sense of direct communication and heightened sense of intimacy with the customer.

Interestingly, Mikes are also infinitely more likely than any of other brands to talk about using ‘real fruit’ in their drinks, showing that good ingredients and healthiness is a key feature of their product.

insight card - Mike's use personal pronouns
insight card - hard seltzer brands claiming to use real fruit

When using unique solutions such as Relative Insight to analyse competitor websites and social channels, we can clearly see how each brand differentiates themselves and establishes a unique tone of voice. These four hard seltzer brands have all created distinct differences in the way they choose to communicate with their customers, and so as the craze continues to develop and people get more into drinking alcoholic sparkling water, it will be interesting to see how these brands develop their messaging – and which one will become ubiquitous.

Don’t miss our next Spotlight Series webinar ‘Giant Killers’: The Tale of Challenger Brands on October 27 to hear about more industry-disrupting innovators.

Relative Insight can analyse data from any language asset. We can analyse everything from social media, to competitor websites, to product reviews to open-ended survey data, we can help you discover insights about any brand, demographic or audience segment.