Yesterday, Budweiser released the commercial below. In it, the marketing giant who also happens to sell beer successfully continues their new advertising strategy, which is seemingly an effort to troll hipsters; a strategy that they unofficially launched with their now infamous Super Bowl ad that featured bearded scenesters sniffing mutli-coloured beer flights in small glasses and positioning them as diametrically opposed to people who drink “real beer” “made the hard way.”
This new ad is aimed once again squarely at the hipster set (whom they identify without ever saying the word hipster, only by stating their setting: Brooklyn, a word that probably serves pretty handily as a short hand signifier of “all things pretentious and effeminate” to any macro-drinking, flag waving, fly-over-state-dwelling “real person”). In it, they set up a fake bar, put an actor into some hipster clothing (i.e. plaid), and have said pseudo-cool-guy serve unwitting hipsters some ice cold Budweiser.
The stage is set for an epic burn!
But does it work? I don’t think so.
Presumably the folks at the ad agency Budweiser hired to make this farce will think this campaign is a success owing to what I imagine will be high numbers in the only currency that matters these days, traffic, but it’s hard to view this ad with anything close to a critical eye and not see it as a failure, for a couple reasons.
First, there’s the obvious fact that no one know really ever compliments the beer.
This is about as good as it gets when you trick folks into drinking Bud:
“Light,” says one person in a quickly cut montage of tasting notes.
“Crisp,” offers another guy.
“Reliable,” says someone, suggesting what is arguably one the stupidest note I’ve ever heard about a beer when you consider that that guy had one sip of the beer.
“I can always count on this plastic two-ounce sample of this beer I’m not familiar with. Ol’ reliable!”
Finally, one guy says, “This would be great on like a 100 degree day!”
And even though I can picture the erections of the marketing folks who were in a van watching the live feed on the street in Brooklyn, this—the closest we really get to a compliment—is the most backhanded of positive notes and not at all complimentary to a real beer.
“Exactly!” says stubble-faced-actor-in-plaid-pretending-to-be-a-Brooklynite, clearly happy to have duped the hipster.
Exactly. Yes, you win, Bud. You tricked those plaid-wearing big-city-dwelling assholes into saying your beer would be refreshing if it was really hot.
You know what I love on a really hot day? Water right from a fucking hose. Literally anything cold tastes good on a 100 degree day. That’s pretty much the best thing anyone says about Bud in this commercial and it’s exactly what I’d say about Budweiser–even if I knew I was drinking fucking Budweiser.
And yet, you do come away from this video thinking there were vaguely positive things said about Bud, and there were, sort of, but they actually aren’t really all that positive and they were actually all said by the hairdo in a Williamsburg bartender starter costume—not the duped hipsters. He offers: “Not too heavy” and “fast finish” as tasting notes to draw in his unsuspecting longboarders–roughly the beer drinking equivalent of “Don’t worry this will be over quickly.”
Pour me some of that forgettable shit, Bruh!
Of course it’s easy to pick on any attempt to sell Bud with tasting notes because it’s Bud. It doesn’t have much taste and that is, arguably, its best quality. So let’s forget that they don’t technically trick any hipsters into liking Bud and just pretend that they did.
Let’s pretend the guy who said, “This is Budweiser?” in the commercial immediately ordered and paid for a pint, happily downed it, and bought a calendar of scantily clad Bud girls for the loft where he runs his dot com start up—an enthusiastic new fan converted to loving the macro giant.
What would that have even accomplished, in terms of marketing?
Would tricking hipsters with an elaborate candid camera set up actually create new drinkers of Bud?
Probably not. Actual “hipsters” (whatever the fuck that word actually means) aren’t likely to be swayed because they watched a marketing campaign dupe some folks who have similar facial hair.
No one watches this and says, “Hey man, I live in Brooklyn and I like cool beer. If that person with black-framed glasses likes Bud, maybe I should buy a six pack next time I ride my fixie bike home from slack lining.”
Indeed, far from ensnare new consumers, this ad seems designed to appeal to people who already think craft beer drinkers are pretentious snobs who choose drinks based on image and not taste. Folks who might say, “Ha ha! Look at those silly hipsters!” In short, the only people who are likely to enjoy this advertisement are the type of people who probably already drink Budweiser.
And if not Budweiser specifically, then surely some other similar macro lager. It’s clearly not the sort of ad that would cause anyone to abandon their interest in unique, independently made craft beer. Instead it’s for someone who drinks lagers and might watch and say, “Man, Budweiser sure tricked them good! I haven’t had a Bud in a while. I’ma get one now!”
So, instead of drawing consumers away from craft beer—which this ad seems to be trying to do with its implicit dig on Brooklyn people—it’s really only likely to convince drinkers of other macro lagers into picking up a good ol’ Budweiser, which is, obviously, just a different macro lager.
Craft beer drinkers, like me, will definitely watch the ad, and so in some ways it will be considered a success (“LOOK AT THESE METRICS, BRIAN!”) but rather than be converted, most people will laugh at or recoil from the ad (or worse, take to their blogs for unnecessary, overly wordy analysis…) and thus the fastest growing segment of beer consumers in North America will only become further entrenched in our opposition to beers like Budweiser; the makers of which we see as people who continue to favour marketing over taste, and who have now inexplicably designed their marketing to condescendingly mock the very people to whom they are attempting to appeal.
11 thoughts on “Budweiser is now officially marketing to people who already drink Budweiser”
I think Budweiser has long given up the notion of bringing craft beer drinkers back to the fold Ben. This is a dig at ‘hipsters’ – which Bud would think funny – but their target market is other macro beer drinkers, as you alluded. If this brings in a few Miller drinkers to the Bud side, they’ve done their job. Especially with those killer traffic numbers. It’s an expensive way to accomplish that goal but I don’t think InBev execs are that bright anyyway
Another thing to consider is AB-InBev now has it’s own craft division overseeing the many smaller breweries it’s purchased. Also they own a 32% stake in a publicly traded company called Craft Brew Alliance (BREW). So with this type of commercial they are reaping double benefits. It’s going to appeal to people who already drink Budweiser, and think craft drinkers are pretentious “hipsters”. It is also going to push craft drinkers away from Budweiser and ensure they continue to drink craft beers, which will only add to AB-InBev’s income from their craft division. So really this commercial is a win-win for AB-InBev.
An interesting theory, but it really only works if you assume that everyone who sees this commercial will buy more beer, regardless of what kind of beer they buy.
I love the article, a great take another shitty attack ad from the big guys. When I think of Budweiser, I’m reminded of the horrific pukey aftertaste it surprises its consumers with after drinking a few “Buds”, I guess they left that footage out of the commercial. “Budweiser – the most efficient way to ingest large volumes of horse piss”.
Great article. Thanks.
At the 25 second mark – the girl looks a lot like Brooklyn native, and Survivor contestant Andrea Boehlke (https://twitter.com/andreaboehlke)
1. Hipsters are real. And yes they’re doche-nozzles.
2. I love all beer. I’ll always take a craft beer over Bud, but I’ll also drink a Bud w/o compunction (which is a big word, like Gymnasium.) This neither pisses me off nor makes me want to drink a Bud out of spite for Hipsters.
3. The ad is nothing but the InBev marketing dept. justifying it’s own existence. It accomplishes nothing, and was never supposed to. It was created solely for the purpose of adding filler in the quarterly advertising meeting, just to show the execs, “We at Marketing are making an effort to combat our market share losses… SEEEE?”
this ad is directed at anybody who thinks “fuck hipsters”
and that is alot of people
Budweiser is doing exactly what they want to do; That is to encourage people who are pro-bud to stick to ol’ faithful. because craft beer has spread so wide, people start to feel more comfortable with trying new beer, and when they do, they realize its a whole lot better than bud. They’d rather squash that before it happens. This ad is definitely aimed at current bud customers, and allows a peek into, and simultaneously discredits “hipster culture” without having to leave the laptop.
Take a look at this advert flighted last year where SABMILLER intentionally tricked unsuspecting punters with its signature South African beer.
Seems like AB-inbev arent the only douchebag brewing corporation.