Innovation in pint glasses tends to come in the form of shape or weight, though not much has changed in decades (save for the famous Sam Adams glass). But clever marketers came up with a brilliant way to make you want to fill your glass with a dark beer: screen a special QR code onto the glass that can only be read when it’s up against a dark enough background.
For those who don’t know, QR codes are modern bar codes — they hold some form of data that can be read by one of dozens of different smartphone apps. For a QR code to work, like a barcode, the scanner needs to be able to tell the basic difference between white and black to be read (or some other combination of contrasting color). By printing a light-colored QR code onto a glass that simply can’t work with a light beer, it’s possible to provide some sort of bonus material with a dark beer.
Very clever, in the can’t-believe-I-didn’t-think-of-this-first kind of way.
USA Today reports on the latest ad strategy for faltering Budweiser: giving their beer away and hoping people buy it later.
To appeal to the under-30 set that has ignored the brand — but is a prime consumer group for beer — Budweiser will unleash its biggest-ever national free-sample effort in trendy bars and eateries. The campaign begins Monday, with the slogan “Grab some Buds.”
The hype culminates on Sept. 29, when the brand hosts the “Budweiser National Happy Hour,” a bid by Bud to nudge folks to at least try a free brewski. The free samples for those 21 and up range from 6 ounces to 12 ounces, depending on state and local rules.
They know how things have changed in the last 10 years, and craft beer is a major problem for them.
The promotion comes as upscale consumers are turning to craft beers, the price-conscious are trading down, and others switched to light beers. “It’s a triple whammy,” says Michael Bellas, CEO at Beverage Marketing.
Executives at Anheuser-Busch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Belgium-based Anheuser–Busch InBev, insist they can reignite interest from younger drinkers with an image upgrade and a reintroduction via sampling.
I’m not sure which “trendy bars” they’re referring to, but trendy has meant craft beer or high-end cocktails. I’m not sure how Budweiser fits with any of that.
Bad news in St. Louis as the Post Dispatch reports on the marketing issues that are swallowing Budweiser, causing a generation to ignore it completely:
Anheuser-Busch knows it has a Budweiser problem. The beer’s share of the U.S. market peaked in 1988 at 26 percent, sinking to 9.3 percent last year. Even more troubling for A-B is that Budweiser seems at risk of being forgotten by an entire generation. Four out of 10 people in their mid-20s have never even tried Budweiser — a rate 2.5 times higher than when it reigned supreme, according to the company.
But gaining traction at home has proven difficult. “We know we have a lot of work to do, especially in the United States,” said A-B InBev chief marketing officer Chris Burggraeve during a recent analysts’ conference call. “But I can assure you that we’re energized and completely committed to stabilizing the brand in its home market.”
That task falls to Peacock, head of the A-B InBev’s U.S. operations.
Peacock, standing on stage at Maryville University, sounded indignant when a question from the audience cast doubt on how Budweiser could be saved. The questioner was a man who appeared to be in his 20s, his sideburns long and his eyeglasses fashionable dark frames — precisely the kind of drinker that Budweiser wants to win back. But the man said he doesn’t see Budweiser being consumed when he’s out. He sees craft beer.
The PBR phenomenon has always amazed me, simply because I would rather drink Budweiser than PBR. While I’ve learned not to draw market-wide conclusions from my own anecdotal experiences, this does seem to be something of a brand issue more than a product issue.
Is Budweiser now the Oldsmobile of beer? For many 20-somethings, their parents and grandparents may enjoy it, but it’s never something they would buy.