Americans are drinking less alcohol, and much of that decline is due to lower beer consumption.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has found its Pure Gold, an organic beer under its Michelob Ultra brand, has been successful in wooing customers from wine and spirits. In an effort to keep the brand's momentum going, the beer will make its Super Bowl debut on Feb. 3 with an ad that features a trendy YouTube sound sensation know for calming listeners.
U.S. alcohol consumption fell for the third straight year in 2018, even though Americans are drinking more wine and spirits, according to IWSR data. The beverage market analysis company estimated the volume of beer sold fell 1.5 percent last year to 2.62 billion 9-liter cases.
Since its launch, a few weeks after last year's Super Bowl, Pure Gold has surpassed $59 million in sales, said Azania Andrews, vice president of Michelob Ultra. She estimates that 8 percent of Pure Gold's volume is coming from consumers who are new to the category.
"You can anticipate that kind of growth to continue," Andrews said. "We've just scratched the surface for Pure Gold."
The beer is made with organic grains and contains only 85 calories per 12 ounces. The brand targets young professionals who focus on wellness and eat mostly organic food and who might otherwise choose wine or spirits because they believe those options are healthier, she said.
The Pure Gold commercial features actress Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, who is known for her roles in "Mad Max: Fury Road" and HBO's "Big Little Lies." In the ad, Kravitz uses autonomous sensory meridian response techniques like whispering and tapping a Pure Gold bottle into microphones. ASMR is a growing trend on YouTube, with the most popular videos reaching more than 500 million views. Some viewers find the videos relaxing because the techniques can trigger tingling in their scalps and spines.
Fellow beverage giant PepsiCo has teased its own ASMR-inspired ad starring rapper Cardi B tapping on a diamond-encrusted Pepsi can.
In addition to hopping on a trend popular with millennials, ads showcasing ASMR's subdued techniques could stand out among other commercials that compete for attention by raising the volume.
The Pure Gold ad brings Michelob Ultra's total Super Bowl airtime to 75 seconds. Friday, the brand released its other spot for Michelob Ultra, which targets U.S. Latinos in an effort to keeping growing sales of the brand's non-organic light beer.
Parent company AB InBev has eight ads running during the football game, the most in the company's recent history. To combat declining beer sales, it's been investing heavily in marketing. Other released ads include a Budweiser commercial promoting its use of wind power with its iconic Clydesdale horses and a Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer commercial pitching its hard seltzer.
Bud Light, which will also have its own Super Bowl commercial, is getting extra attention by promising free beer to the winning city. It handed out free beer during the Philadelphia Eagles' victory parade last year.