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Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold's Super Bowl Commercial Has Become the Most Visible Advertisement for Organic

Whether people in the organic industry like beer or not, the folks at Anheuser-Busch have done us an enormous favor. How?

By running its Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold organic beer commercial during the Super Bowl (113 million viewers) and Sunday night’s Grammy awards (20 million viewers), organic received unparalleled exposure on broadcast television. And if we throw in the 14 million from YouTube, this ad has garnered 147M views.

With our industry still unable to fund, develop and agree upon the creative direction for a national branding/advertising campaign, it could be easily argued that this Michelob commercial has become the de facto campaign for organic.

The ad, which stars Zoe Kravitz, daughter of music icon Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, features a lush, idyllic island background and utilizes an increasingly popular video technique called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). According to scientists Beverley Fredborg, James Clark, and Stephen Smith, ASMR is “a perceptual phenomenon in which specific audiovisual stimuli frequently elicit tingling sensations on the scalp and neck, and often elicit a calm and positive emotional state that may last up to several minutes.” ASMR is also associated with mindfulness.

I spoke with Azania Andrews, Vice President of Marketing for Michelob ULTRA at Anheuser-Busch, about this campaign and the company’s future plans for organic.

Having a major beverage conglomerate, whose overall profile is largely non-organic, buy a Super Bowl promoting an organic brand is a serious statement. Is this the beginning of a larger shift within your company?

Michelob ULTRA has always been focused on aligning with broader health and wellness trends, starting with our launch in 2002 at the height of consumer interest in lower calorie and lower carb diets. As a major driver of growth in the beer category, we will continue to develop products that reflect consumer interests – and that includes organic. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold was the number two most successful innovation in beer in 2018 and, as a result, has received recognition from peers and competitors as a promising product in our industry.

Additionally, Anheuser-Busch as a company recognized the potential of organic in the non-alcoholic space with the acquisition of Hiball energy drinks in 2017.

What are you seeing, in terms of consumer behavior patterns of beer drinkers, that people are ready to make the switch to organic beer in a meaningful way?

Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold was born out of the observation that a growing segment of the population is switching to organic food and beverages as they make steps toward cleaner living. Trends in beer tend to follow broader consumer trends, so we felt that now was the right time to introduce an organic beer from a major brewer.

The messaging in this ad did not tout the organic aspects or benefits of this beer, such as free from GMOs, synthetic fertilizers or harmful pesticides. Rather, it focused on the overall aesthetic of the location and ASMR. Why?

Our most important objective was to drive awareness that Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold is a great tasting organic beer. With a combination of beautiful visuals and unique ASMR cues, the commercial itself was designed to be a love letter to Pure Gold. Further information about what makes our beer organic will be included at relevant moments throughout the year.

Does the company plan on launching more organic products?

While I can’t share plans for more organic products at this time, I can say we are committed to bringing our drinkers options that match their lifestyles and reflect current cultural trends.

When asked about this campaign, marketing experts offered different feedback.

“I thought it was much more brand forward than about organic,” said Alex Matthews, Founder of Here Studio, a branding, design and CPG product development firm.

“This is only a positive for the organic industry. An ad airing during the most watched tv event in the world is the tectonic shift in organic awareness we have been waiting for. It is no longer the stuff just for hippies. It’s for everyone — like we have been saying for decades,” shared Greg Fleishman, Co-Founder of Foodstirs and Purely Righteous Brands.

While it may be difficult to quantify exactly how this commercial will benefit the overall organic industry, it is irrefutable that Anheuser-Busch placing a still shot of the USDA organic seal at the end of the commercial is raising awareness of organic in an unprecedented way.

Have a great day!

Max Goldberg, Founder

New Organic Products

New Organic Products

Squeezable Coconut Manna by Nutiva

Next month, Nutiva will be launching its organic coconut manna in squeezable pouches. They will be available in three flavors — original, almond and chocolate.

Amazing Protein Glow by Amazing Grass

A plant-based solution to the collagen boom, Amazing Grass has launched Amazing Protein Glow — an organic product that contains farm-fresh greens and functional botanicals. It comes in three flavors — wild berry hibiscus, chocolate rose and vanilla honeysuckle

Vegan Superdark Truffles by Alter Eco

Expanding its popular line of fair-trade, organic truffles, Alter Eco has introduced superdark vegan truffles. This new product is made with 80% cocoa and only contains 3 grams of sugar per truffle.

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This Week's News Items

Weekly News Summaries

First Course
Friends of the Earth

Study: Toxic Pesticides Dropped up to 95% after One Week on an Organic Diet

A new peer-reviewed study compared pesticide levels in the bodies of four families across the country on a non-organic and organic diet. The results? Pesticides in their bodies dropped up to 95% within one week on an organic diet.

Associated Press

Clif Bar Creates Agricultural Investment Fund to Help Organic Farmers

Clif Bar launched the Clif Ag Fund, a new investment fund to help increase the economic resilience of organic farmers in its supply chain.

Fast Company

Public Goods -- a Hybrid of Thrive Market and Brandless - Has Launched

By Rina Raphael

With a $59 membership fee, members can stock up on 60 organic products, ranging from extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to rosemary flatbread and split pea soup.

PR Newswire

First Ever "Organic Day" Brings 90 Farmers and Advocates to the Oregon Capitol

For the first time, Organic Valley farmer members and organic businesses throughout the state joined forces to educate and meet with lawmakers, with the goal of emphasizing the important role organic plays in Oregon.

Second Course

Prices at Whole Foods are Going Back Up on Hundreds of Items

By Hallie Detrick

In a company email sent out in December, it was announced that 550 items would see price increases due to inflation, and the average increase for items on the list was 66 cents.

Food + Tech Connect

How Biodiversity is Core to REBBL’s Business

By Danielle Gould

CEO Sheryl O'Loughlin talks about the importance of regenerative agriculture and biodiversity at REBBL, and she also calls out organic brands who are following the letter of the law when it comes to USDA organic certification -- but not its spirit.

The Ukiah Daily Journal

Mendocino County is Moving Toward a Ban on Cultivating GE-Cannabis

By Curtis Driscoll

In California, Mendocino County is in the process of prohibiting the cultivation, processing and manufacturing of cannabis and cannabis-based products using genetic engineering.

Third Course
Fast Company

These Probiotics for Plants Help Farms Capture Carbon Dioxide from the Environment

By Adele Peters

Locus Agricultural Solutions' mix of fungi and bacteria makes soil more productive and helps to mitigate climate change.

PR Newswire

Food & Water Watch and Organic Consumers Association Sue Pilgrim's Pride

Food & Water Watch and Organic Consumers Association have sued Pilgrim's Pride for deceptive marketing and advertising, alleging that its factory farm practices are inhumane and environmentally irresponsible.

Diálogo Chino

How E-Commerce is Reshaping Organic Farming in China

By Karoline Kan and Wang Chen

A fascinating look at the organic food and farming market in China.

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This Week's Quick Hits

Quick Hits

* The New England Organic Produce Conference is scheduled for May 1st at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

* Congrats to Straus Family Creamery for celebrating 25 years of making a significant impact in the organic farming and organic food movement.

* Applegate Farms has announced THE NEW FOOD COLLECTIVE, a new premium brand that sells pasture-raised meats from small farms in GeorgiaKentucky and Missouri that use regenerative agricultural practices.

* Jim Riddle and Joyce Ford have been named the 2019 Organic Farmers of the Year by the board of MOSES.

* Porteñas, New York’s first bar dedicated to yerba mate, opened last week.

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