Craft beer labels have long celebrated the distinctiveness of the beer inside their bottles and cans emphasizing ingredients, processes and heritage while BigBeer chose stylish simplicity and nearly message-free designs, especially on the light beer brands.
Could it be Bud Light really has learned something important from the crafties?
In our view, the most intriguing change lies in the messaging on the label. Gone is the fatuous generic beer claim "smooth & refreshing."
On the new design, several product-distinctiveness message points are visible.
The first makes beer history: "Beechwood aging," long a claim made for parent Budweiser, but never-before employed on Bud Light, is included.
What's it all mean for Bud Light's new ads?
We won't have long to wait to see how--or whether--these product-distinctiveness claims get dramatized in the Bud Light advertising reportedly being prepared for a SuperBowl debut. There has been a good deal of speculation and some hype about the role of celebrities and humor in these new ads. But unless the laughs and the big stars somehow feature and celebrate the distinctiveness of the beer inside these blue cans, the most important lesson from the craft brewers-- that product-distinctiveness sells beer--will have been wasted.
If that happens, the big loser at the big game will be a big beer.