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    Seasonal Beer Promotions Heat Up

    Dos Equis, Heineken and Budweiser launch new marketing programs.

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. and ST. LOUIS -- Summer is right around the corner and beer companies are revving up their marketing campaigns to make sure adult consumers have their latest offerings on ice.

    The Dos Equis brand unveiled details for the new season's "Most Interesting" program, designed to complement its ongoing "Most Interesting Man in the World" concept. The summer campaign will run at retail and on-premise June 1 through Aug. 31.

    At retail, limited-edition displays, stackers, price cards and cooler decals, as well as cross-merchandising convenience store and grocery offers will aim to help increase sales of Dos Equis Lager and Ambar, and drive higher basket rings.

    The program will include weekly and monthly challenges that invite participants to submit videos or photos of their adventures for the chance to win one of 80 prizes, including an excursion to Mexico's Yucatan. Point-of-sale materials will direct shoppers to text "STAYTHIRSTY" to receive challenges and submit proof of participation to Instagram or to the program website.

    Three winners per month will receive an all-expenses paid grand-prize trip to Mexico. Weekly challenge winners (80 per week) will win three branded prizes including a waterproof camera case, backpack or soft-top surfboard.

    "Summer is a key selling season for Dos Equis, with both Lager Especial and Ambar growing at double-digit rates between 2012 to 2013 and driving a 10-percent lift," said Ryan Thompson, brand director for Dos Equis, a brand of White Plains-based Heineken USA. "[The program] is sure to drive incremental sales of Dos Equis all summer long with an exhilarating Instagram contest, unparalleled media support, compelling in-store offers and more."

    Heineken USA's flagship brand Heineken is also looking to work its way into barbecue coolers with its "Open Your Summer" program, a 360-degree retail and on-premise activation taking place through July. The campaign will feature television and digital advertising, a mobile consumer engagement platform, limited-edition packaging and a tiered national sweepstakes with daily and grand prizes. The promotion gives adult consumers the opportunity to customize, share and realize their ideal summer.

    To kick off the campaign, Heineken is introducing six limited-edition bottles inspired by the cities they represent: New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai. Through July 4, every Heineken lager pack featuring the City Bottle labels will include an under-the-cap code, offering shoppers the chance to win top-tier grand prizes and occasion-relevant daily prizes when they visit Heineken.com and enter their code.

    "People love being outside during the summer and surrounding themselves with family and friends," said Jonathan Simpson, senior director, commercial marketing at Heineken USA. "Heineken's Open Your Summer promotion taps into the energy and excitement of summer's casual gatherings and provides our retail and on-premise partners with a robust program that will engage their customers, increase their register rings and keep them coming back for more."

    Meanwhile, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch is marking this summer by bringing back its limited-edition red, white and blue Budweiser cans and bottles. And this year, the brand will once again help military families through a donation of more than $3 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation.

    Through Aug. 15, consumers can enter a code on specially marked packages of Budweiser to trigger a $1 donation to the foundation -- up to $1 million -- which added to contributions from the brand's wholesaler family, will amount to the full $3-million offering. Budweiser estimates the donation will provide more than 600 scholarships to families of soldiers killed or disabled in action.

    In addition, Budweiser plans to honor this year's recipients with a series of personal scholarship deliveries via the Budweiser Clydesdales.

    "Budweiser celebrates America and our military every single day, but this summer is especially important as we welcome thousands of troops home from overseas," said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. "Our ultimate goal is to make it possible for everyone to say 'thank you', whether it's by triggering a donation to Folds of Honor with a case of Budweiser, bidding on an auction item or attending an event with the Budweiser Clydesdales. The sacrifices made by our military and their families are deserving of a nationwide salute."

    Since first partnering with the Folds of Honor Foundation in 2010, Budweiser and its wholesalers have raised nearly $10 million for military families.

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