Anheuser-Busch continues to deal with a severe case of dissociative identity disorder. AB continues to snatch up craft breweries for its beer portfolio — The High End — which includes Wicked Weed, Goose Island, Blue Point, Elysian, 10 Barrel, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Virtue Cider and Devils Backbone. On top of gobbling up craft beer companies, AB has been growing fatter by expanding into regional markets via craft beer destination breweries with craft brands it already owns or brands it’s creating from scratch.
Yet, at the same time, the multinational megabrewer (which dominates the U.S. beer industry with 45 percent market share) is also marketing and selling against craft with its traditional Bud products. Just enjoy the new ad campaign above from the advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy. It portrays craft beer as ridiculously complex cocktails and Bud Light as the simple, everyman’s beer. Craft beer gets garnished with lobster claws, ice cream and little umbrellas, while Bud Light only uses four main ingredients — water, malt,
yeast rice and hops — and maybe mixed with a heavy dose of marketing bullshit.
AdAge notes that the ads are a response to slipping sales (which AB is helping to create with its own brands):
But so far, big brands have struggled to reverse declining volume trends. For instance, Miller Lite fell 0.8% in the four weeks ending July 29 after dropping 5.4% in June, Beer Marketer’s Insights reported, citing Nielsen data. Bud Light has been stuck in a bigger slump, with its volume down 5.8% in July and 9.4% in June, according to the Beer Marketer’s Insights report.
Bud Light’s new ads seek to reclaim the brand’s mojo by appealing to drinkers who prefer regular old beer.