Bud Light, which has struggled amid the craft beer revolution, has a new message for drinkers: Simple beer is good, too. In new ads the nation's largest brew touts its "four essential ingredients" -- water, rice, barley and hops -- while poking fun at more complex brews with depictions of absurd concoctions like a beer garnished with a lobster claw.
The two spots (see the other here) are by Wieden & Kennedy New York and mark a new marketing phase in which Bud Light will put a concerted effort on promoting its liquid credentials, while promoting itself as "America's favorite light lager."
In doing so, Bud Light follows other traditional beer brands, such as Miller Lite and Heineken, that have sought to restore respect to mainstream lagers with product-focused marketing amid the rise of more complex craft ales.
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. Some consumers are tiring of "having to pull out your phone and Google certain brands that are on tap to find out what is this brand all about. It's become a bit overwhelming," says Andy Goeler, a longtime Anheuser-Busch InBev employee who took over VP duties for Bud Light in March.
"There is definitely an audience that likes that, and that's great," says Goeler, who formerly oversaw AB InBev's Goose Island craft beer brand. But there are other consumers that just "want a good-quality beer."
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