AB InBev’s Kona Big Wave addresses toxic surf culture in new campaign

AB InBev’s Kona Big Wave addresses toxic surf culture in new campaign


Kona Big Wave launched the next iteration of its “Bring the Aloha” initiative, according to information shared with Marketing Dive. The new campaign, “Share the Big Waves” comes months after the brand announced a massive rebranding effort, including a name change.

Kona Big Wave, formally Kona Brewing Co., is looking to address tensions in surfer culture through a new California-based activation. As part of the campaign, professional surfer Hunter Jones met with surfers of multiple skill levels at San Onofre beach in San Clemente, California. The result is a short video which talks about the more toxic parts of surf culture, such as fights, arguing and a practice known as “dropping in” where two surfers crash into one another.

“We like to view Kona Big Wave not just as a beer, but as an accompaniment to life’s most meaningful moments of connection — moments that embody the aloha spirit and bring us closer to each other and to the natural world,” said Meredith Ruskin, vice president of marketing for Kona Big Wave in a press release.

“Surfing may be a solo sport, but it is one that comes with a lot of complexities and nuances when interacting and connecting with other surfers,” the executive continued. “’Share the Big Waves’ shows that when you break down walls and have an open dialogue, there is always a place for connection — especially over a great-tasting beer.”

In addition to the film, consumers 21 years of age and older will be able to find the Aloha Bench at iconic surf spots. Those who scan the QR code on the bench will unlock a special offer for two free Kona Big Wave’s to be used at a local restaurant or bar.

Kona Big Wave was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2020 after the beverage giant purchased the Craft Brew Alliance. Currently, AB InBev owns the rights to the beer in 49 states and internationally, while Kona Big Wave is owned in Hawaii by PV Brewing Partners. The increased attention on Kona reflects the alcohol giant’s desire to focus on premiumization.


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