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Comparing US hard seltzer brands, and their most intriguing factors

It was only a few years ago when we started to see the rise of hard seltzer brands. Here were these semi-colorful metal containers with vibrant fonts, enticing flavors and very few calories, what more could you ask for? However, with several companies offering similar products, we found ourselves wondering how each company is differentiating itself in the eyes of consumers.

Using Relative Insight’s text analytics platform, we compared conversations on Twitter from consumers of hard seltzers about some of the biggest competitors: White Claw, Truly Hard Seltzer, Bud Light Hard Seltzer and Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer. In this social media analysis, we were able to identify where these companies are succeeding and where some may be falling short, in the eyes of their target audiences.

The Power of hype:
In the last year, White Claw and their customer base have made a name for themselves that has consistently put them at the frontline of popularity. So much so, we found consumers are 11.5x more likely to mention the hype of White Claw more than any other hard seltzer competitors.

“White Claw Wasted”, “White Claw Wednesday” and “Ain’t No Laws When You’re Drinking Claws” are only some of the expressions that have helped create a buildup that other hard seltzer brands have yet to create.

Super Bowl and Post Malone:
Whether the demographic you are aiming for is those in their mid-twenties or older adults, creating a resonating hype is one of the best ways to get a product flying off the shelves.

Well-known beer company, Bud Light followed suit when deciding to use Post Malone as their spokesperson for their brand of hard seltzers, which were introduced in a commercial, released during the last Super Bowl.

With Post Malone being one of today’s most popular artists, this Super Bowl commercial created two-fold attraction, not only for those who are already avid drinkers of Bud Light Beer but also for those who are big fans of Post Malone.

Are the lack of calories a selling point?:
Similarly, each company produces hard seltzers with low calorie counts with a single serving only putting you back about 90 to 100 calories per can.

But interestingly enough, ‘calorie-friendly’ is only a selling point for Truly Hard Seltzer lovers with consumers 6.3 times more likely to mention it than for any other brand. The possibility of this calorie attraction could be due to Truly’s marketing tactics and/or the fact that Truly’s demographic is primarily adults with kids.

Hard seltzer – not necessarily a drink for kids?
Despite this marketing activity from Truly, it is fair to say that hard seltzers are primarily a hit with younger demographics, and so calorie intake might not be the biggest selling point for those in their twenties or early thirties.

Whatever the reason may be, whether it’s marketing tactics or just a pique of certain interest, there’s no doubt that Truly is hitting a major selling point that other hard seltzer brands are missing the mark on.

Taste is the name of the game:
With more and more companies hopping on the hard seltzer train, the comparison of flavors from different brands is only to be expected. With such strong competition, despite the commercials, calories or different flavors, it ultimately comes down to taste.

Much to Smirnoff’s delight, many consumers found Smirnoff’s offerings to carry a strong amount of flavor, putting Smirnoff’s Spiked Sparkling Seltzers at the lead in terms of flavor evaluation.

You either love them or hate them:
As a once popular Bravo-Celebrity/Real Housewife once said, “you either love me or hate me, there is no in between with me.” The same goes for opinions on hard seltzers. On the loving end of the spectrum, consumers use words such as “good” “pretty good” or “the best” but on the other end of the spectrum, consumers will either brand the product as “awful” or mark the taste as lacking when compared to other drinks they’ve tried.

These opinions differ by location, as observed through our social media competitor analysis of UK hard seltzer brands – emphasizing the importance of demographic-based analysis.

Relative Insight can help you get business value out of any text data set – contact us to see the platform in action, and for some inspiration on what we can do for you.

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