Phusion Projects: Basic Hard Seltzer Case Study

Discover how Koupon partnered with Phusion Projects to drive trial of its brand new Basic Hard Seltzer, during the heart of the pandemic, using our retailer-agnostic rebate & reward solution. 



Driving trial of a new product without in-store sampling 

Let’s travel back to the beginning of 2020. (It’ll be ok… Really.) 

If you recall, hard seltzer was riding high after its breakout summer of 2019 — the one when Americans drank so much that White Claw literally ran out for a minute. 

So Phusion Projects, always looking for the next big thing for drinkers, seized the moment. They developed Basic Hard Seltzer and lined up all kinds of events to launch their new product. 

“At Phusion, we take pride in our ability to innovate based on what consumers are looking for. People want less frills and less noise, especially now. This is why we’re so thrilled to launch Basic Hard Seltzer,” said Jaisen Freeman, Co-founder of Phusion Projects LLC. “All four flavors speak to the belief in getting back to the basics, simple ingredients done right. We’re really proud of that.”

Unfortunately, we all know what happened next. 

With events suddenly shut down and in-store sampling off the table, Phusion was left with a head-scratcher — how could they get their brand new product into the hands of consumers without physical sampling? 



Digital rebates to the rescue

Determined to succeed, Phusion began scouring the internet for solutions. Upon discovering Koupon, they were immediately impressed with the network of retailers. 

“The relationships that Koupon has with retailers is really what made them different from other vendors.” — Samantha Catalina, Vice President, Marketing at Phusion Projects

Phusion learned they could use digital rebates to drive trials in place of in-store sampling. This works because, like sampling, rebates remove the cost barrier by allowing customers to try a new product for free (or for a reduced cost depending on the offer). 

The Phusion team loved Koupon’s rebate platform above others for several reasons, the first being its simple, technology-first approach. There are no complicated forms or trips to the post office; just snap a picture of the receipt and pick Venmo or Paypal to get your money back. 


Plus, Koupon’s platform can be entirely custom-branded, meaning consumers would only see Basic Hard Seltzer on signage and offers. 


The icing on the cake was Koupon’s retailer-agnostic platform, allowing Phusion to drive awareness across any channel, with any retailer. 

So Phusion decided to shift marketing funds away from events and into digital rebates, partnering with Koupon to develop a robust campaign:

  • The objective — Drive awareness of Basic Hard Seltzer by engaging large format consumers.
  • The strategy — Use in-store POS signage to encourage consumers to text in to receive a digital rebate. 
  • The offers — $3, $5, or $10 cashback when you buy one Basic Hard Seltzer 12 pack, any variety. Or get a FREE Basic Hard Seltzer 12 pack with a rebate, any variety up to $17.99. 



Increased trial and brand awareness (plus, lots of data)

The Basic Hard Seltzer campaign ran from May through December 2020 — directly engaging 37,800 consumers and achieving a stunning 58% conversion rate. 

In layman’s terms, this means 37,800 people texted the word BASIC to the number 64827 and received a mobile offer on their phone. 

And out of the 37,800 people who texted, 22,072 purchased the product and submitted their information to receive the rebate. 

“The rebate campaign definitely helped sample the product and increase display activity in retailers which is the biggest piece of what we were trying to do...It was definitely successful from that standpoint.”

Plus, Phusion gained valuable insights as to who was drinking their seltzer and where they were buying it the most — like the age group of consumers, states with the largest participation rates, and the specific retailers who were top sellers.

This type of data is hard to quantify in physical sampling campaigns and extremely useful for running targeted promotions in the future — something Phusion plans to do as it continues its partnership with Koupon in 2021.