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How Hop Wtr Is Appealing to Sober-Curious Consumers

P2PI talked with Hop Wtr's CEO about the brand's latest holiday campaign, which commissioned a popular video creator to give mall Santas an impromptu breathalyzer test.
hop wtr

Hop Wtr, the sparkling water brand that positions itself as a healthy alternative to soda and alcohol, ran a unique holiday campaign to close out 2023. 

The campaign, “SBR SNTA,” launched on Dec. 18. Hop Wtr tapped popular influencer Omer Majid, whose impromptu man on the street-style videos have garnered him more than 1.1 million followers on TikTok alone, to visit Santa Claus impersonators at different malls in Los Angeles and test their sobriety. 

Majid “unwrapped Santa’s secrets” by offering the impersonators an on-camera, on-the-spot breathalyzer test during their photo opps to determine if they’ve been “indulging in something stronger than milk” this Christmas and gifting them a case of Hop Wtr’s non-alc sparkling water as a holiday pick me up, Hop Wtr CEO Jordan Bass told the Path to Purchase Institute.

“[Majid] has a lot of popularity internationally,” Bass said. “Collaborating with an influencer who has experience with this impromptu style of video was ideal, especially since we were looking for someone who would be able to go up to mall Santas and offer them a breathalyzer test and keep things light-hearted and amusing. [Majid] was able to roll with the punches, get Santa to take a breathalyzer test and had a really fun vibe that fit perfectly with the campaign.”

@omermajidshorts I think Santa loved the @hopwtr ♬ original sound - Omer Majid

Majid shared his commissioned video via his own Instagram and TikTok account. In addition to an influencer partnership, the holiday campaign also included paid and organic social activity on the two platforms throughout the holidays.

About the inspiration for this campaign, Bass told the Institute: “We know the holidays are a time where parties and drinking are top of mind, and we wanted to create a light-hearted and humorous campaign that brings a twist to the typical holiday content you see online.”

Bass also called the target audience for this campaign pretty diverse, “whether they are sober, sober-curious or enjoy beer and cocktails.” Notably, however, the brand is seeing the biggest increase in interest from Gen Z. 

“Our consumers span Gen Z to Millennials and beyond, but we have noticed that more Gen Z consumers have had an increased interest in non-alc options, as they are drinking less than previous generations.”

Recent research continues to point to Gen Z consumers drinking less alcohol compared to Millennials and older generations, not only for physical health reasons, but also for their mental wellbeing. Most people who drink alcohol (69%), Gen Z (81%), and Millennials (78%) say they are interested in exploring a "sober curious" or "damp" lifestyle, based on a November 2023 survey from White Claw.

“We’re really excited about the growing interest in the sober-curious movement,” Bass told the Institute. “We are constantly looking to reach these consumers by evolving the brand year-over-year to keep up with demand and create something that’s more than just a brand, but a lifestyle. We do this through our marketing campaigns, like SBR SNTA, and also through product innovation.”

“We recently launched Double Hopped, which was created based on consumer feedback,” he added. “Our fans were looking for a product that was even hoppier than our original lineup, so we created a product that contains the same amount of hops as a craft IPA. So far, Double Hopped has been so popular that we sold out of our first production run and have gotten some really strong feedback, making it one of our most impactful launches to date. Hop Wtr is excited to continue giving sober-curious consumers even more to look forward to in 2024 with new flavors, marketing campaigns and more.”

Following its holiday campaign, Hop Wtr immediately kicked off its second annual Dry January campaign, this time enlisting certified hypnotist, Amy Koford, to award sober-curious consumers with a 1:1 session to be hypnotized into staying dry all month and kickstart a healthier 2024. The campaign has come to life through organic social media promotions and a national social media giveaway, in which the brand partnered with other non-alcoholic beverage brands to award booze-free bar cart essentials to one winner.

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