For a legendary brand that dominated the domestic beer market for nearly half a century, and still dwarfs the vast majority of its competitors, there’s remarkably little in the way of a published record of the advertising strategy process that made Budweiser an icon. There's no shortage of articles on the many standout Budweiser ad campaigns—Clydesdales, lizards, frogs, Wassup, and more—but if you search “Budweiser strategy” you’re going to be frustrated. I know I was.
It’d be nice if there was a Bud strategy written down somewhere. For the ages. Or just for the odd blogger.
As it turns out, there is. Dated 1971.
Cue the song:
Budweiser beer, The King is second to none.
Just say Budweiser, you've said it all.
Here comes The King Of Beers, so lift your glass, let's hear the call.
Budweiser Beer's the one that's leading the rest,
And beechwood aging makes it beer at its best.
One taste'll tell you, so loud and clear.
There's only one Budweiser beer, there's only one Budweiser beer!
When you say Bud there's nothing left you can say.
(When you say Bud!)
When you say Bud, The King is right on his way!
(When you say Bud!)
The King is coming, let's hear the call,
When you say Bud you've said it all.
When you say Bud you've said it all!
As to content, the lyrics feature just two general brand facts to establish the beer as special and distinctive (the #1 job of advertising). First is popularity expressed as kingship/leadership/ass-kicking-ness, all shown highlighted above. Second is the underlined couplet linking beechwood aging to taste.
What followed in the marketplace was a decades-long one-two punch, with most of the emphasis on the one. Number one. “Why are you drinking Budweiser?” “Because everybody does.” The force of the herd can be powerful indeed.
This is the strategic essence that drove Budweiser’s unequalled success. And in all those good years, I’d wager nobody ever penned the start of another verse:
“What will we do... when Bud is second-to-two?”