In an year where America and nationalism has caught everyone’s eyes in the build up to the presidential race in November. Budweiser is the latest to catch in on the America buzz word given that America has no trademark it has named its beer America and has used the colors of the republic on its packaging. It can surely be seen a brilliant marketing strategy by the now Belgium owned Beer Company.
The nation’s largest brewer is stamping the word America on beer cans and bottles that would usually say Budweiser. The packaging also substitutes “US” in the logo’s crest that would usually say “AB” and drops “King of Beers” for “E Pluribus Unum.”
The packaging, which will be on shelves from May 23 through the November presidential election, is part of Budweiser’s summerlong campaign—“America is in Your Hands.” It comes during the important beer-selling period between Memorial Day and Labor Day that account for about a third of U.S. beer sales. It also seeks to capitalize on a summer when the news cycle will be dominated by the presidential campaign.
The King of Beers has wrapped itself in the flag in the past. It has hosted a “Made In America” concert with hip hop artist Jay-Z in recent years, and it last year featured images of the Statue of Liberty on cans.
But this takes it a step farther. Using America on beer cans carries a benefit that cost-conscious AB InBev can appreciate: It’s free. The company said there is no cost to use the word—unlike the concert partnership with Roc Nation, which was founded by Jay-Z, and the partnership with the National Park Service to feature the Statue of Liberty.
Budweiser has been making a concerted effort to shake up its image in recent years with bold marketing campaigns. The brand has been losing market share for more than 25 years as younger drinkers increasingly opt for pale ales and cocktails over the King of Beers. The company’s “Brewed the Hard Way” ad, launched during the 2015 Super Bowl, criticized craft brewers for making beer to be fussed over while Bud brewed beer “for drinking.”
This summer’s packaging builds on that by framing Budweiser as more American than competitors. “This is bold and new,“ said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. He added that the brand needs “to surprise” consumers, especially during the key summer sales month.
Budweiser plans to feature the packaging in a new TV spot June 1 and use it to promote its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic team and U.S. men’s national soccer team, which is playing in this summer’s Copa America Centenario soccer tournament.
The idea for using America on the front of Budweiser cans this summer came from AB InBev’s design agency Jones Knowles Ritchie New York. Mr. Marques said that the packaging appealed so much to the company that it shaped its entire summer marketing campaign around it. Some at AB InBev asked if consumers would recognize the brand on shelves, but Mr. Marques felt Budweiser’s logo had been so consistent over the years that recognition wouldn’t be a problem.
“This talks to the values relevant to our audience: hard work, perseverance not giving up,” Mr. Marques said.