The way that the Budweiser rebranding messages have been packaged for the media, one might think that Anheuser Busch is actually in the business of making beer. But really – they got out of that business in 2008 – at least finally, completely. Now, they’re solely in the business of manipulating consumer tastes and acquiring companies that actually make beer.
But that’s not what all of those clever commercials tell me about the brand, you say. True, Budweiser’s clever marketing definitely tells a different story. We’re presented a picture of a company that’s steeped in American values and a devotion to providing Americans with a quality product that tastes the way an American beer is supposed to taste. Well, I’m saying it’s a big load of Belgian crap. And it’s not that difficult to see right through it if you take the time to educate yourself just a little.
If you haven't seen the infamous Budweiser Super Bowl XLIX commercial by now...uh, there's this thing called Google. I'm sure we've all come across a guy that looks like the mustachioed mascot of the brewed the hard way commercial, but you can probably easily count the number of people you know who own a can of bees wax.
It's perfectly understandable why nobody goes sticking their noses in a red solo of freshly poured Budweiser, but you'll have a hard time not immersing you face in a snifter of craft beer. There's actually something to smell in a good damn beer, and the aromas usually erupt out of the glass making them something you can't ignore.
What Budweiser's marketing agency did with this ad is tell men that they would lose their masculinity if they drank real beer. The sad thing is that it actually appeals to a segment of the drinker market. It's the segment that gets angry about the NFL promoting player safety, the one that applies the old Lays Potato Chip slogan to drinking and that thinks professional wrestling is only 10% fake.
The most recent Budweiser commercial attacks a completely innocent bystander. It wasn't the cows that told them to put rice in their yellowish liquid product. This one is particularly funny, because all the good burger joints cringed when they saw this commercial. Maybe this message would be true if McWendykings started serving adult beverages.
I won't even bring up the Bud Light no means I need another drink and more coercing campaign... oops. Seriously - when you're done reading this - go watch some AB brand commercials. If you see a woman drinking a beer, try not to stare too hard at the bikini she's wearing. The fact is that women make up more than 30% of craft beer drinkers. The problem for Budweiser is that they want beer with actual flavor.
So, we're supposed to believe that Budweiser is proud of losing market share - year after year - to craft beer and other alcoholic beverages? Is it even plausible that as choices increase for consumers, Budweiser takes pride in the fact that drinkers increasingly will choose anything that's not a macro? But sure, we'll all buy that Budweiser is proud to have proliferated a sentiment that pisses people off when they find out that Shock Top isn't craft beer. If Budweiser is so proud to be brewing macro, why are they buying up craft breweries around the globe and focusing their attention away from the US market to Africa, Asia and South America?
The truth: Budweiser is AB-Inbev, one of the largest (European-owned) multinational corporations on Earth. When they say that they're proud to brew macro what they're really saying is that they're proud to make beer in board rooms and focus groups, figuring out how to maximize shareholder dividends and turn their lines of alcoholic products into commodities to be consumed in mass quantities that can be distributed to every inhabited part of the planet. Budweiser is proud of a beer when it rolls of the canning line the way that Monsanto is proud of a freshly packaged gallon of Roundup weed killer.
Budweiser is a brand that represents a product designed strictly to get people drunk. It and other macro beer products have reached such a state of commoditization that they are forced into executing strategy based on game theory. This means that the most important factor that goes into the sale of a case of 24 Budweiser cans is the amount of advertising that the company purchases. Quality is only a focus in the way that frozen food companies focus on quality: maximized shelf life and mass production for mass consumption and addiction. Just like the Monsanto example, Budweiser is devoted to quality taste the same way that Nestlé is devoted to the taste of frozen edibles. That's right, Budweiser is the Hot Pocket of beer.