Michelob Ultra spoofs artificial intelligence to spotlight real ingredients in hard seltzer

Dive Brief:

  • Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer is promoting the introduction of its new Classic Collection with a campaign that pits the beverage brand against the artificial intelligence (AI) “community,” per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • For the effort, the brand’s Twitter feed has been “hacked” by the AI community, and consumers who reply to a promotional tweet on March 22 and pledge to not try the new beverage offerings will be entered into a sweepstakes for one bitcoin, currently valued at about $58,000.
  • Billing itself as the “enemy of the artificial,” Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer is spoofing interest in AI with the campaign, which also includes a glitchy TV spot, video of a robotic dog destroying a billboard, partnerships with AI influencers and a Spotify tie-up. The campaign was developed by DraftLine, AB InBev’s in-house agency, per Ad Age.

Dive Insight:

Michelob Ultra’s campaign for the extension of its Organic Seltzer line spoofs AI as a way to call attention to an ingredient list that includes real, organic fruit juice and no added sugar. The effort comes amid a rise in difficulty distinguishing real from fake, per details emailed to Marketing Dive, as seen in the rise of distrust in institutions and popularity of deepfake videos.

Michelob Ultra has previously used deepfake technology, putting Peyton Manning’s face into scenes from the iconic film “Caddyshack.” PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew soda brand earlier this month premiered a “lost” episode of “The Joy of Painting” that used the technology to revive late landscape painter Bob Ross.

Now, the new campaign’s offering of one bitcoin comes as interest in cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) surges. Others marketers are leveraging this buzz to engage consumers this week, including Pizza Hut and P&G’s Charmin.

By making consumers pledge to not drink the beverage — and thus side with artificial over real — Michelob is taking a counterintuitive approach that could help it engage with consumers tired of traditional brand messaging. Competitor Miller Lite in 2019 asked consumers to unfollow its brand on social media, which Michelob Ultra sister brand Natural Light in turn flipped into a troll campaign.

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