Corona Extra

By the early1980's, Grupo Modelo's decision to introduce Corona Extra internationally and broaden its already established base in Mexico, a market it has been atop of since its inception in 1925, was a sound one (International Advertising Association, 1995). So dominant is Corona's presence in its own country of Mexico that in 1996 it owned 32.7% market share of the Mexican Beer industry (Groupo Modelo (1), 1998). As for exporting, the U.S. and Canada markets were chosen for the initial expansion, with Europe, Asia, and Latin-America to come in the later half of the decade. Groupo Modelo even supports a website where they claim that Corona Extra is, "the number-one selling beer in Mexico and the leading exported brand" (Groupo Modelo (2), 1998). This success comes within a market that is composed of three main groups: people of Spanish descent, those of Indian descent, and mestizos, a mixture of the two groups (Groupo Modelo (3), 1998).

By the late 1980's, Corona had attained unparalleled success in the import beer market and in 1989 Corona Light was introduced and "quickly became the second best selling imported light beer and the first beer to sell more than one million cases in its introductory year" (Barton Beers, 1998). A look into the advertising efforts over the years may provide some answers to a phenomenon that has even eclipsed the Dutch beer Heineken, which had been the number-one U.S. import beer since the end of Prohibition in 1933 (Groupo Modelo (2), 1998).

Corona Advertising

The success of any advertising campaign depends on a number of factors. One such factor is the ability to create a strong brand image within the target audience. To get the consumer to remember the product or brand at the point-of-purchase is critical. Often times to achieve this a company will create a gimmick to associate with their product. Corona was no exception to this. Early in the introductory stage of Corona Extra to the U.S., Groupo Modelo decided to distinguish Corona from other beers by creating a ritual that would have the consumer drink the product with a wedge of lime pushed through the clear long-necked bottle (Malkin & Melcher, 1995). The initial positioning of Corona was a that it was a beer for the small, influential, and trendy group known in the 1980's as "Yuppies". This print ad demonstrates this ritual, a ritual that was created to derive uniqueness for Corona beer in the minds of the consumer. This uniqueness was two-fold in that the consumer would themselves be set apart from others by drinking different beer, and the beer itself could be recognized as having a certain status of being different.

As Corona's brand image matured, there was a shift to emphasize what the product now meant to the consumer, which was that Corona was, "a fun Mexican beer" (Building a presence, 1996). Now the tagline changed from, "A State of Mind", to one that read, "Change Your Whole Lattitude" (Khermouch, 1998). The new ads feature people on sandy beaches or on a dock that over-looks calm waters. The ads emulated the feeling of escapism, the beer is to change one's attitude and latitude all at once. This appeal is considered a "soft-sell" in that the people in the ads are not only enjoying Corona Extra beer, but are also enjoying the place they are in or activity they are doing. Corona is seen as a part of the happiness and not necessarily the direct cause of it. These images work well within the mainstream U.S. society but the recent explosion within the U.S. Hispanic market suggests that these images may not be what is driving, "some consumers (to) go through a case or two a week" (Khermouch, 1995).