Can a patriotic branding and advertising campaign give this brew the lift it needs in the face of craft beers and imports?
“America” is the new “King of Beers,” at least temporarily.
Beer giant Anheuser-Busch recently announced it’s changing up its iconic Budweiser beer label by replacing the “Budweiser” name with “America.” The “King of Beers” phrase will be swapped out with “E Pluribus Unum” (the national motto meaning “Out of many, one”). The new beer labels will also feature lyrics from “The Star Spangled Banner” or “America the Beautiful” and phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance. Anheuser-Busch even plans to swap out its A-B crest with a U.S. crest instead.
The company says its new labels — which will be affixed to all 12-ounce cans and bottles of Budweiser from May 23 through the presidential election in November — are designed to “inspire drinkers to celebrate America and Budweiser’s shared values of freedom and authenticity” during its summer-long “America is in your hands” campaign.
“We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen, with Copa America Centenario being held on U.S. soil for the first time, Team USA competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Ricardo Marques, vice president of Budweiser, said in a press release. “Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we’re honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years.”
Also in late May, Budweiser plans to unveil cans and bottles that feature the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which the company says is designed to show support for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. Those cans and bottles will be sold through mid-September.
Sales of U.S. domestic beer brands, including Budweiser, Miller and Milwaukee’s Best, have slumped in recent years as more Americans choose to tip back craft brews and imported lager.
Budweiser’s patriotic cans are no doubt an attempt to appeal to the patriotic masses, but are the new labels enough to boost sales for the struggling beer brand? Brand expert and Forbes contributor Allen Adamson doesn’t seem to think so.
Adamson writes that in order for Budweiser to really bump its beer sales, the company needs to attract millennial drinkers, a group that typically drinks craft beers because they look for “authenticity, flavor, and the story behind the beers they drink.”
Adamson explains why he thinks campaign is not enough to woo this important market segment:
This latest move by Anheuser-Busch, while transparent, is in my opinion, misguided. Instead of using the can to better tell its authenticity story, Budweiser is wrapping itself in a patriotic flag, borrowed interest that may give it a short-term promotional bump, but will not give it the seismic turn-around it needs to compete for the millennial audience.
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