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Coors Light and the Shohei Ohtani Effect

Last Updated: December 27, 2023
The Silver Bullet got an unexpected bump from the most exciting player in baseball last season. Boardroom’s Gabe Oshin breaks down how one accidental moment returned massive marketing dividends.
@boardroom This is sports marketing of the highest order. #shoheiohtani #mlb #losangelesangels #baseball #beer #coorslight ♬ original sound – Boardroom

The year 2023 will frequently be tied to some strange moments that went down in the beer industry. Modelo overtook Budweiser as the highest-selling beer in the United States. Bud Light unwittingly stepped into some culture wars.

However, one story that will likely be lost in the mix is the time that then-Angels star Shohei Ohtani netted a major marketing win for Coors Light.

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In the Aug. 26 matchup against the New York Mets, Ohtani pulled a ball straight into an LED screen with a Coors Light ad at Citi Field. The shot knocked out some light pixels, resulting in a black spot in the top left of the can.

One savvy member of the Silver Bullet’s marketing team quickly tweeted out a replica of the image and unwittingly procured one of the best sports marketing campaigns of the season.

Using the tagline “Hits the Spot,” the Tweet took in over 1 million views and had fans clamoring for a redesign. Coors Light quickly developed some IRL merch, making $17 empty commemorative beer cans in the likeness of the knocked-out square. When the company announced the new offering, it generated an additional million impressions on Twitter. Plus, the limited-run cans sold out immediately.

Turns out that the Shohei effect has no limits, even when things are totally unplanned.

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