How Budweiser is Making Consumers Rethink Their Brand

What does a marketer do when their product is a monolith in a world of microbrew?

We all have our brand prejudices: we avoid products because our parents liked them, or because they’re too popular, or associated with a demographic that doesn’t speak to us. Budweiser is, simultaneously, dealing with all of those issues.

It’s over a century old, and for trendy New Yorkers it can come off as old-fashioned Americana. So how do you get a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters to realize that Budweiser is actually pretty tasty?

Budweiser isn’t alone in this challenge for relevancy. Samuel Adams, the largest craft beer brewer, is looking to reclaim their identity in the craft world after originally pioneering it with similar “blind taste test” ads. Elsewhere, we’ve all seen the Pepsi Challenge, where society collectively discovered that marketing can actually change how we perceive taste. And more recently, consumers decided that the same Miller Lite tastes better in a retro can.

But Budweiser isn’t just challenging preconceived notions, they’re re-focusing their overall strategy on winning over millenials. 44% of 21-27 year-olds have never tried Budweiser, the Wall Street Journal reports, and are slowly being crowded out by craft beers.

After years of developing advertising and marketing that appeals to all ages, AB InBev plans to concentrate future Budweiser promotions exclusively on that age bracket. That means it won’t trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising… It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash.

It’s a strategy that worked for Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever” campaign targeted towards millennials culminated in the takeover of an actual town.

Whether or not Budweiser will ever convert diehard craft beer drinkers is up for debate. But their new “Blind Taste Test” is sure to sway some undecided voters.