Corona Beer, started in Mexico in 1925 by Grupo Modelo, became a dominant brand by 1996, owning 32.7% of the Mexican beer industry. Before it became popular internationally, it had already established itself as a home-grown success. Read about the history of Corona Beer
The Vision Expands
In the early part of the 1980’s, Grupo Modelo decided to take on the international market by introducing Corona Extra, and their website claimed Corona Extra was "the number-one selling beer in Mexico and the leading exported brand.”
In Brussels, at a Corona European distributors meeting, Vice President of Grupo Modelo, Sr. Valentin Diez Morodo, summed up in a few choice words the story of the meteoric success of Corona as an international beer.
"This great achievement is the result of an uninterrupted effort over the past 20 years: in 1977 the import market share of beers in the Modelo Group made up only 1.34% of the total volume of Mexican beers, yet we ended 1997 with 80.16%. Over this entire period - particularly, on the North American markets - we fought off every possible kind of attack from our competitors, not just American beers, but imported beers as well.”
When Corona was introduced to the international market in the early 1980s, it was billed as a beer for “Yuppies,” a popular demographic target group for marketers at the time. However, this elite, trend-setting group was not as responsive as those of Spanish, Indian, and Mestizos descent, who then became the target audience and the people who would be loyal to the brand.
Strategic International Growth
The export of Corona was strategically done. The first expansion was for North America, then after this, Europe, followed by Asia, with Latin America completing the planned growth.
This plan unfolded better than expected. By 1989, Corona Light sold more than one million cases in its first year in the United States, becoming the second most popular beer, with Heineken, the Dutch beer, still retaining the number one spot. However, by 1997, Corona became even more popular than Heineken. This is a huge accomplishment, considering that Heineken had been popular in the United States ever since the end of the Prohibition, which was as far back as 1933. Competing with over 500 imported beers, Corona had finally come to impact the United States market as the best specialty beer.
Corona turned its attention to Europe in 1990, beginning with four distributors. Today it has fifty distributors who work in 71 territories that span Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In total, Corona Beer can now be found in more than 140 countries.
Strategic Advertising: The Secret Of Corona’s Success
How did Corona earn a place as a premium beer in the international beer market? In a few words: through brilliant advertising to establish its brand image.
Corona followed a three point strategy to achieve branding success: one, it created a strong brand image with its identified target market; two, it reminded consumers of its brand during point-of-purchase sales; and three, it found a unique advertising image to associate with its product.
The Corona Image: Maturing Over Time
Corona Extra distinguished itself from other beers in the American market by creating a memorable ritual: the beer consumer was expected to push a lime wedge through the long neck of a clear bottle. The print ad demonstrated this ritual, succeeding in capturing the imagination of beer drinkers, who began to distinguish themselves as a different breed of consumer.
As the brand image matured, Corona taglines changed from “a fun, Mexican beer” to “A State Of Mind” and “Change Your Whole Latitude.” New ads now show people enjoying the beach or a dock overlooking calm waters, aiming to stimulate a sense of escapism by changing both attitude and latitude. The soft-sell is to associate Corona Extra with consumers in the thick of pleasurable activities enjoying their place in life.
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Corona merchandising is widely popular.