Two consumer trends absolutely nailed the King of Beers: The growth of light beers-- Bud Light is now the #1 brand and six of the top-ten beers are light-beer brands-- together with the epic rise of craft beer formed a product-news pincer. Beer drinkers deserted Bud for "less filling/less taste" on one side, and "more flavor" on the other. As my advertising-legend friend, Laurel Cutler, used to say, the middle is definitely not where you want to be.
Since about 1988, Budweiser has been bleeding. The brand's once-commanding 25% share dropped to 8%, third-place behind Coors Light. The bucket isn't leaking; it's been turned on its side. Stemming the losses must be the brand's #1 priority.
Somewhere along the decline, Budweiser effectively became old news, a brand many of today's beer drinkers felt no longer offered them anything of interest. Nearly generic beer-fun advertising campaigns like "Grab some Buds" didn't help.
If the feature is real news, so much the better.
Budweiser still uses the original brewer's yeast culture strain from 1876. The very same culture. Yeast defines the taste of beer and it can be easily adulterated, so the brewery has safeguarded this culture for 130 years, while keeping it secret from outside eyes. All of this means every ounce of Budweiser ever brewed shares a taste-defining common connection.
One creative idea:
Call it inter-generational jiu-jitsu: Find a way to turn Budweiser's association with the past to its advantage. But how?
Each new generation strives mightily-- often violently-- to find its own identity, and so to separate itself from every previous generation. Yet at some point in our journey, nearly every one of us also discovers-- often reluctantly-- that certain cross-generation ties still bind us. They are links, not to the past in general, but to specific bits of joy somehow conveyed to us through the years, often without our noticing. And they are ties to specific people.
Loyalty can be re-built, but it must happen a beer at a time.
Re-kindling a fondness for a brand takes just that: the advertising equivalent of kindling. It looks for a spark of re-connection.
In this idea-- depicted below in four "showboards" designed to give it form, but not necessarily to serve as advertising-- Budweiser captures some of those bits of inherited joy. And suggests that the unchanged taste of its beer may well be among them.
Because certain tastes never change.
He and I are vastly different people.
But I have to admit, certain tastes of mine--
like my love for the blues-- come from him."
Ese era su regalo más grande para mí."
Here's the deal: The focus of this strategy is squarely on lapsed Budweiser drinkers. So the opinions of committed craft-beer drinkers on all this are largely irrelevant. Anyway, as they say in social media, "Haters gonna hate."