Voodoo Ranger is a masterbrand of IPAs from New Belgium Brewing with national distribution. The craft beer category as a whole is down 8-12% year over year with the health and experience shift of younger consumers leading back to spirits.
Our objective was to differentiate Voodoo Ranger from the incredible “sea of sameness” in the category - bearded brew masters sniffing hops, self-indulgent hipsters talking about the virtues of “craft” and beer posed in picturesque landscapes. So we brought the Voodoo Ranger character to life in social and gave him a unique voice, point of view and story development on Instagram.
Finally, there would be a beer willing to not take craft so seriously, with Voodoo poking fun at category tropes and culture with lighthearted humor and quick wit.
Once we established ourselves as the world’s most sarcastic and self-aware spokesperson, we had permission to start participating in culture in an authentic way.
Here’s how we did it:
After garnering a cult-like following with our Voodoo Ranger masterbrand, we set out to promote limited-time rotational beers with custom content. With the launch of every new Voodoo Ranger beer, we created a product specific campaign that had a nuanced shift in our character’s voice. From the laid back island vibes of Liquid Paradise, to evil space villainy of Starship, to the darker biker-inspired beer Juicifer, each rotational beer was promoted with its very own campaign, product RTBs and in some cases, activations.
To celebrate the launch of New Belgium’s 1985 IPA, and to give consumers a light hearted break from reality, we partnered with MiniBar to bring our latest beer directly to them - in a DeLorean. On July 15, a fleet of DeLorean time-machines descended on Chicago to deliver 1985 to customers who ordered through MiniBar’s liquor delivery app. Cruising the streets with windows down and 80s music blasting, we surprised customers with their orders of 1985 complete with 80s attire, scrunchies and leggings and a Voodoo Ranger gift pack including a tin lunch box, stickers, coozies and more. To tease the event we conducted a COVID-safe live action car shoot. Voodoo Ranger 1985: bringing you back to the future of IPAs.
During election season, we made sure to get in on the fun with a little competition of our own for the next super beer. We crowdsourced our next beer release from our fans on instagram. Fans cast their votes through the Instagram stories polling feature and a customized landing page. Captain Dynamite and Agent 77 competed for votes in four different action packed categories as part of “The Thirsty Games.” Captain Dynamite won three out of four categories, losing to Agent 77 only in the “Most Death-Defying Already Dead Dude” category. Agent 77 was destroyed and Captain Dynamite launched as Voodoo Ranger’s newest rotator series in early 2021.
We created social posts that fans loved so much, they turned into products IRL. Demand for more of the Voodoo Ranger grew so large that we developed a custom e-commerce site for Voodoo Ranger merch, the Vootique, where fans can purchase limited edition products from action figures and lunchboxes to T-shirts, stickers and hats to rep their favorite beer character.
In just one year, our strategy and execution has led to:
Voodoo Ranger has become the fastest growing craft beer in America.
Voodoo Ranger has propelled New Belgium to become the #1 IPA brewery in the country.
Voodoo Ranger has surpassed Fat Tire to become the #1 beer in New Belgium’s portfolio.
17% average customer engagement with our content
62% sales growth (in a category that is down 8-12% YOY, no less)
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