Finally, Charlotte’s mystery What The 77 campaign has been revealed. Here it is ...

Melissa Oyler
·3 min read

It started with an Instagram account, a billboard at 4127 South Boulevard, then Twitter speculations — and more Twitter speculations.

But what is it? Finally, we know.

On Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., a billboard was unveiled and a news release sent simultaneously, telling the world (ok fine, the city) what What The 77 in Charlotte is.

Here it is folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

What the 77 is .... drum roll .... a marketing campaign for BUBS - The 77 Calorie Hard Seltzer from the team at Sycamore Brewing.

BUBS is currently available in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. It is celebrating more markets opening up soon. This was the hard seltzer’s first guerrilla marketing campaign, Sycamore co-owner Sarah Brigham told CharlotteFive.

“Guerrilla marketing is by definition cheap and cheerful and aimed at generating as much exposure as possible for a comparatively small budget. It was stressful at times and very much a moving target but for me, that’s part of the charm,” she said. As for the sculpture, she was inspired by the monoliths that have been appearing all around the world and wanted to create a 77 version.

It’s so Charlotte, right?

The background

We all know when it comes to marketing Sycamore Brewing pulls out no stops. From holiday beers with bondage themes to reindeer in precarious positions, it’s no wonder this team was behind this.

The mysterious marketing campaign had led Charlotte’s social media community on a wild goose chase over recent days, wondering what was going on. Emma Way’s permit search had turned up nothing. The 77 Instagram account displayed photos of a sidewalk chalk 77 along the Rail Trail, a 77 on a garage door on North Tryon Street, a monolith at North Tryon and Keswick.

Hashtags were a clue: #CharlotteEvents, #CharlotteHairstylist, #CharlotteConstruction, #CharlottePhotographer, #NewDevelopment.

CharlotteFive wondered: A new wedding venue, perhaps? A fashion runway on the interstate? A construction team with good hair? We thought 77, the Interstate. But rather, it’s the calorie count — and so much more.

“The number 77 has great cultural significance in Charlotte from the infamous 1-77 and its much-debated toll lanes, to 1977 being the year that Bojangles — an iconic local chain — was founded. And now, the number of calories in BUBS, a Charlotte original,” Brigham said.

The original reveal date was actually next week, but in part to control the narrative and the unveiling, the team decided to move it up. There is another reason for the shift, one Brad Panovich surely could have predicted: “We also had to work around the weather, as our Billboard company could only remove the covered portion of our ‘What The 77’ Billboard on South Boulevard on a rain-free day,” Brigham said.

“As it looks like we’ll have rain starting on Friday and sticking around into next week, Thursday necessarily became the launch day, adding considerably to the workload,” she said. “The original plan was to move the sculpture all over our BUBS distribution footprint — but we have some fun campaigns coming up to further activate those markets.”

Yes, hard seltzer fans, stay tuned: Next up for the Bubs team is the world’s first Hard Seltzer Dash. It’s a 77-yard dash, obviously. You can compete as a team or an individual. We’re talking running and drinking sprints — more information to come this spring.

So what do you think, Charlotte? Email us at charlottefive@charlottefive.com and let us know.

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