Bud Light Finds a Word

December 9, 2008



It doesn't matter who owns Budweiser because even though Bud may not be American-owned anymore, the brand is still all-American brand.


It doesn't matter where a product is made or who owns the corporate entity. Once a brand becomes identified with a country, it is forever connected to that country in the mind.



A Budweiser beer bottled by InBev is still an American beer, the same as a Toyota made in Kentucky is still a Japanese car.


Budweiser's brews have been battered in recent years by Miller's low-carb attacks, as well as by lackluster advertising and foolish line extensions like Budweiser World Select, Budweiser American Ale and Budweiser Select.


But recently Budweiser has scored a home run. How? They have done what every brand should do, focused on one word.


Budweiser's future is Bud Light. As a result they should be marketing and spending most of their advertising money protecting this brand.



Bud Light in particular has gotten hammered by Miller Lite and even by its sibling brand Michelob Ultra on both taste and low-carbs. Bud Light can't win either battle. It has almost three times the carbs of Miller Lite and lacks the full-flavored taste of the other light beers.



Bud Light has a watered down taste yet it still full of carbs. Not a good combination.



But many of the best strategies come from taking a negative and turning it into a positive. The trick is getting the wording right.


Avis rent-a-cars wasn't the leader. But it turned its second place position into an advantage by saying:

Avis is only No.2. So why go with us? We try harder.


Smucker's jelly & jams has a funny name. But it turned that funny name into a positive by saying:

With a name like Smucker's it has to taste good.


Listerine mouthwash tastes terrible. So instead of hiding its taste, they proudly say:

The taste you hate, twice a day.


Lucky for Bud, the low-carb craze has cooled and the few grams difference between it and the light beers is truly trivial. But the taste angle is not. Being labeled a water-down brew isn't manly and doesn’t deserve of the king of beers crown and title.


For years Bud Light tried to find an effective strategy but nothing has worked. Until now.

You can’t miss the new Bud Light message. Focusing on one word make the message memorable. That one word has been blazing bright on billboards across the country and has been endlessly repeated on television.


That's a strategy that works exceptionally well in advertising. Taking a well-known brand and hammering away one idea over and over again.


Bud Light has turned its watered-down taste into a positive with one word, Drinkability.



What does drinkability mean? It means you can drink Bud Light all night long. Whom does Bud Light appeal to? Young drinkers, 21-35 year olds who don't sip, they chug.


The key to effective branding is not appealing to everybody. Drinkability is brilliant because it gives up something.


Drinkability gives up the older drinkers who only drink one beer and want a deep rich taste. Sam Adams has them. Drinkability give up the snobs who want imported prestige. Heineken has them.  Drinkability give up the folks at the Mexican fiesta crowd. Corona has them.


But all that giving up means Bud Light is left with a focused, powerful memorable message.



When you have a focus, you have a strategy, with a strategy you can create effective advertising. Without a focus, you have nothing to work with.


The 2009 Super Bowl could be a time for Budweiser to shine. The economy is going to keep a lot of players out of the game. While will make Bud more noticable.



If I was in charge, I would only advertise Bud Light during the game. Forget Budweiser, let it die a slow death. I would run all 10 commercials (5 minutes) for Bud Light using heavy doses of Clydesdales, drinkability and humor. 


I'd drink to that.