Anheuser-Busch decides it will just give Budweiser away for free

By Rebecca Cullers on Tue Sep 28 2010

Free-beer

Flagging sales have caused Budweiser to declare Wednesday as "Budweiser National Happy Hour." Bud will hand out free samples from six ounces all the way up to 12, where the law allows, in "trendy bars and eateries." The goal is to appeal to the under-30 set who, according to Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., have adopted craft beer the way Gen X adopted wine. Bud's ranking among national product brands (not just beer) has dropped from 16th in 2003 to 220th in 2010, and Budweiser unit sales were down 9 percent last year. At the same time, craft-beer sales rose 9 percent in the first half of 2010, and craft brews nearly doubled their market share in 2009 (from 4 percent to 7 percent). Of course, free beer is only Bud's latest strategy. I think Anheuser-Busch will see a lot more success in continuing to buy small craft brews and distribute them without any Budweiser mention. Shock Top and Hop Hound, two of A-B's suds, are rebranded craft brews. Even if it's free, the only way you'll get die-hard craft fanatics like me to try Bud again is to change the recipe.

Marketers totally geeking out about final season of ABC's 'Lost'

Posted on Mon Feb 1 2010

Oceanic

The final season of ABC's Lost is upon us, and it seems marketers are very interested. Anheuser-Busch is preparing no less than two nods to the show in its Super Bowl ads—a thematic parody in one spot; and in another, a cameo by François Chou, who plays Lost's mysterious Pierre Chang, aka "Marvin Candle." Now, Kayak, the online travel site, has apparently given a much more subtle nod to the show. Last week, CNet dug up a $4,839 flight from Sydney to Los Angeles … on Oceanic Airlines. That, of course, was the doomed flight that our Lost-ies took way back when. Asked about this easter egg, Kayak CMO Robert Birge professed ignorance. "It's a complete mystery to us," he wrote in an e-mail to BrandFreak. "We're investigating to see if there are any more 'ghosts in the machine.' " Hmm. Could this be the work of the Dharma Initiative? Or has Birge been listening to too many Police albums?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Get ready to drink and/or eat some nice Bud Light Golden Wheat

Posted on Tue Jun 16 2009

Wheat copy

Bud Light Golden Wheat sounds like the worst breakfast cereal ever. But don't worry, it's just another lackluster beer from Anheuser-Busch. The move to wheat is partially an attempt to follow the market, as wheat beer has become more popular among drinkers due to its robust flavor. But A-B is going through an expansion period anyway. It launched Bud Light Lime last year with positive results, and Budweiser upgrade American Ale was introduced last fall. This experimentation is, of course, meant to bring in new customers and keep the current ones interested, but it also helps that these specialty beers are more expensive than A-B's regular brands. And there's certainly nothing wrong with trying new things in an economic climate where stagnation of any kind is shunned like leprosy. Don't try anything Crystal, though. That never works.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Did Perez Hilton work on the Bud Light 'Drinkability' campaign?

Posted on Fri Feb 13 2009

Having lost out on the idea of cold refreshment to Coors Light and "Tastes great. Less filling" to Miller Lite, Anheuser-Busch decided to invent a word: "drinkability." However, the campaign to support it has been decidedly less inventive. Bud Light relies on a rather unfunny dude with a magic finger who can doodle on people and landscapes. This strategy has been employed with much better success by Perez Hilton, Demetri Martin as well as Harold and his purple crayon.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Obama will share a beer with Hannity, as long as it's Budweiser

Posted on Tue Feb 10 2009

Apparently, the goons at Fox News are all atwitter about the possibility of President Obama having a beer with Sean Hannity. It's hard to see why Hannity would want to pal around with someone who the Fox anchor says cavorted with terrorists, or why Obama would want to legitimize an angry and increasingly irrelevant right-winger. But so be it. The real brand news that came out of this whole fracas is that Obama is apparently a Bud man—a brave stand these days, given the mounting criticism of the brand's nefarious Belgian origins.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Anheuser-Busch finally punished for selling to the dirty Belgians

Posted on Fri Jan 23 2009

Belgweiser

The Belgweiser Rebellion is upon us.
  The GuyProps Network has been rallying Facebook fans (102 strong) and the press (BrandFreak) to take part in a "Super Beer Boycott." The organizers are taking aim at Anheuser-Busch, calling the company un-American in light of its acquisition by Belgium brewer InBev.
  Ground zero for the revolution is the Belgweiser Rebellion site, where we are treated to some terrible singing and a moderate amount of cleavage. The group's manifesto lashes out against price increases, U.S. layoffs and the punishment A-B employees have been forced to endure (namely, InBev allegedly eliminating a perk of two free cases of beer per month). Another source of outrage: No more free beer tastings at Busch Gardens and Sea World.
  "Shamu just isn't the same without a free beer!" the group said in its official statement.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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