Campaign: Afternoon Dillight Hard Pickle Seltzer
Company: BrüMate and Crook & Marker
Agency partners: Coyne PR, Jenna Lee Scott, Mckay Communications (PR, media relations)
Duration: May – July 2021
BruMate and Crook & Marker teamed up to create a limited edition, pickle-flavored hard seltzer for the summer, the first in a line of flavors the two companies will collaborate on together.
Initially, when drinkware company BrüMate teased it was launching a pickle-flavored seltzer in 2020, it was an April Fools’ Day joke. But the response was nothing to laugh at.
“They had something like 10,000 sign ups in the first day,” said Adam Davis, Crook & Marker’s head of communications. “People were demanding that they make it.”
BrüMate’s CEO Dylan Jacob reached out to beverage maker Crook & Marker via Instagram DM to see if the brand was interested in collaborating on making the stunt a reality.
“For us it was a no-brainer—we got on a call with them the next day and the rest is history,” Davis said. “Our main objective is to always be unignorable—we are a smaller alcohol brand among other larger brands—so everything we do has to stand out.”
The two brands decided to wait and make the product ready for summer 2021.
Product development kicked off in late 2020. Crook & Maker’s flavor scientists created six variances of pickle-seltzer flavor, “one being a subtle flavor, almost like a cucumber, six being a strong dill pickle flavor.”
The team did a taste test, and then voted on the best option. They ended up choosing number five.
“We felt like if someone is buying a pickle seltzer they definitely want it to taste like a pickle seltzer,” Davis said. “The great thing with a flavor like pickle is how divisive it is; pickle has a cult following. but people always fall on one end of the spectrum of whether they love it or hate it.”
Once the flavor was nailed down, Crook & Maker worked with BrüMate to develop CrookedBru, a joint brand that would not only release the pickle-seltzer but could create a series of other “outlandish, controversial flavors” in the future.
“When we looked at what was happening in the hard-seltzer space, it’s a sea of sameness: black cherry across everything,” Davis said. “There is a bit of saturation happening where people have a little fatigue.”
Both brands started teasing the product in early May 2021, with the full announcement going live on May 13.
Outreach took place in phases. A select group of outlets received launch details, under embargo, before the product’s unveiling. On May 13, the pitches went out far and wide, with both brands promoting the collaboration across their owned social channels.
The release date has yet to be announced.
The initial unveiling of Afternoon Dillight Hard Pickle Seltzer generated over 500 media placements, including Good Morning America, Morning Express with Robin Meade, CBS This Morning, The Late Late Show with James Corden, USA Today, CNN, Thrillist, and People.
More than 26,000 people signed up to receive email updates about the product launch, which allowed both brands to significantly grow their email databases.
The campaign also made a splash on social media: Crook & Marker’s initial social posts announcing the launch generated more than 30,000 comments and 25,000 shares.