Call us cynics, but we've read nothing in all this press to make us optimistic about a turnaround in the brand's sales trend based on its coming ads. In fact, we're consumed by an almost spooky feeling we've seen this train wreck before.
Only a year ago, as the ads that turned out to be the epic-failure Amy Schumer campaign were about to be unveiled, we wondered: What would be at the heart of those new ads? The answer provided on last year's press tour by last year's Bud Light ad honcho: The new ads "...will celebrate bringing people together–for fun–over a beer."
A year has passed. Bud Light sales have only gotten worse. And here we are again.
And we wonder now: What does the new Bud Light guy who replaced the other guy have to say about this year's ads? Well, he says the new ads will feature "fun social moments with people you like” under a theme of "famous among friends."
Friends... fun moments... beer.
The similarity of the two themes so breathlessly introduced only twelve months apart is amusing. But what's anything but funny is the underlying marketing mistake Bud Light seems to be intent on repeating.
Selling every beer vs. selling one brand
What beer brand could not deliver on "fun moments and friends?" Indeed, at one point in this year's press tour, the Bud Light guy called it "universal." Exactly. "Fun moments and friends" applies to beer. All beer, not one brand.
A very smart client used to routinely tell creative people if the ads they were about to present to him could easily apply to a brand other than the one that was paying their bills, they should not even bother showing them to him. His job was to sell one brand. Ads that sold all beer brands were a waste of his money.
What to watch for at your SuperBowl party
On SuperBowl Sunday, as your friends are all settling in to watch the ads and voice their personal opinion about which are funny or lame, ask them to apply two extra tests to the Bud Light ad when it appears.
First, imagine the same ad with Miller Lite bottles and cans instead. If it seems like you could easily substitute one for the other, well, that's probably what'll happen when folks go out to buy their beer. Thumbs down.
Second, see if the new Bud Light ads tell folks something that's unique about that particular beer. If so, then our cynicism may have been unnecessary, and Bud Light sales will start to respond. Thumbs--and sales--up.
And hey, you'll have made your friends better beer-ad judges in the process!