No brand is immune to deterioration and erosion, even including the biggest spenders imaginable.
In this case, Budweiser.
Anheuser-Busch has suffered in recent years, and the culprit is the under-30s. Just like in radio, when a product like beer or mass entertainment becomes less cool to younger consumers, there are problems.
How far has Bud fallen? USA Today reports that sales were off 9% in ’09, and are slated to fall by a similar percentage this year. Worse, Bud is suffering from a seven-year brand loyalty skid, according to Brand Keys research. Back in ’03 among national brands they were ranked #16. This year, they have plummeted down to 220.
Think there’s a trend here?
To counter this loyalty cascade, A-B is going commercial-free. Well, at least the equivalent, by giving away free beer to younger beer imbibers in a campaign that will run several weeks.
Beyond the sampling campaign, Bud is partnering with Facebook to award a free beer to those who hit the legal drinking age (not unlike a station birthday card with a nice gift or discount), as well as new TV ads that will be laser-focused on a one-week period starting Saturday and running until October 3.
So, keep an eye out for these new Bud ads, as they attempt to retrench among young people. Obviously, boomer marketing has hit a wall as more upscale beer drinkers have drifted to less caloric alcoholic beverages or designer brews.
The question is whether a venerable brand, famous for showcasing classic athletes and Clydesdales can engineer a youth turnaround.
As A-B is discovering, if you lose youth, you can lose it all.
That’s a good lesson for media companies, too.
(And we all know how long commercial-free lasts.)