In the past 20 years, 13 states have recorded their worst wildfires in history. Climate change has driven a rise in temperatures, leading to an overwhelming increase in devastating and destructive wildfires in the United States. The toll of this has caused a considerable staffing shortage among Wildland Firefighters, hotshot crews and elite teams. In some fire-prone regions, the Forest Service has reported staffing levels as low as 50%.
Born in the heart of wildfire country, Coors Banquet understands the lasting effects the wildfires have on the environment and surrounding communities. That’s why the Colorado-native brand supports the heroic efforts of firefighters by raising money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, and is devoted to expanding its longstanding commitment to protect the heroes in yellow with its new Protect Our Protectors program, an effort to raise money to support firefighters and their families not just in the west, but across the country.
Coors Banquet sought to raise awareness of firefighters' sacrifices by raising money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation through its Protect Our Protectors campaign.
The brand kicked off the hottest month of the year with a powerful OLV and the announcement of the Protect Our Protectors Stubby bottles, with proceeds from the limited-edition bottles going to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and other local firefighter organizations at the peak of fire season. The brand also partnered with California-based apparel brand Brixton to create a limited Protect Our Protectors capsule collection inspired by those in yellow; proceeds from the collection also went to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. To spark conversations about the new packaging and clothing collaboration, Coors Banquet sent care packages to eight influencers to further raise awareness with their followers.
In addition to the limited-edition packaging, collaboration with Brixton, and working with influencers, Coors Banquet worked with country music star Chase Rice to further amplify the initiative. Chase put himself to the test by taking part in a day of wildland firefighter training to bring attention to the intensity, rigor, and sacrifice firefighters experience every day on the job and the incredible grit and tenacity it takes to be one of the brave few who run toward the fire.
August 2022 served as Coors Banquet's Rally Month, a.k.a. Protector Our Protectors Month. The brand launched the Protect Our Protectors campaign by saying "thank you" to firefighters nationwide with local events. Fifteen markets committed to activating and giving back to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation or a local charity benefiting firefighters and their families. These regional events rolled out as benefit shows, food trucks or bar events, and beer drop-offs to firehouses.
Earned media heavily supported the multi-pronged campaign through a four-phase approach. The first phase announced the new packaging and OLV, exclusively secured by AdAge. The second phase consisted of Chase and his team capturing content from his training to share with the media—the brand leveraged Chase's training to get him in front of entertainment media outlets for interviews, such as Showbiz CheatSheet. The third phase was a widespread announcement to kick off the hottest month of the year by sharing the program's news and partnership with Brixton to national, lifestyle, food and beverage, and trade media—the fourth phase prioritized outreach to local media in the markets where local events took place.
The response to Protector Our Protectors was overwhelmingly positive:
“The men and women who fight the wildfires that plague America’s western states are often understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed and Coors Banquet, a proudly western beer brand is stepping up to help them,” noted American Craft Beer in one of the 209 positive pieces of coverage that cut across a wide range of verticals. With more than 600 million total media impressions, the story resonated across food and beverage, trade, lifestyle and alcohol-industry outlets.
Across social media, the response was positive as well, with brand fans sharing their stories and anecdotes related to firefighters. One fan commented, “I was a volunteer firefighter for 31 years for Alameda County Fire Dept. The last ten years as the Chief. Fought the Oakland Hills Fire and worked the Loma Peretia Earthquake. Thank you, Coors, for what you are doing. Have to admit I drank a few Coors at the end of a fire! Thanks.”
The effort increased donations by +20% year over year for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, benefiting firefighters and their families. From a business perspective, Coors Banquet volume sales were up +4.8% year over year during the activation period, the highest growth rate of all premium regulars in the category during this time.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our relationship with Banquet as they help us take care of the boots on the ground,” stated the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.