How Budweiser Plans To Get Millennials To Love Beer Again | Fast Company

– [Narrator] Budweiser is
a classic American brand but with changing consumer taste, can it avoid becoming a relic of the past? (upbeat music) To celebrate Memorial
Day back in May 2016, Budweiser temporarily renamed
itself simply as America. Think about that. No other beer in almost any other country could assume to name itself
after their home nation, even on a temporary basis,
without expecting and getting either widespread outcry,
or just mocked mercilessly. Would Becks ever rename itself Germany? Or Guinness use the
word Ireland on its cans in place of the brand name? Such as the status of
Budweiser in the United States that not only did they do
it, but it sold well enough to repeat the stunt a year later. Yet, while Bud was claiming
to be the beer of America, the market place was
telling a different story. Over the last decade,
changing consumer tastes have knocked the iconic
brand from its perch. With the rise in hard
booze and wine sales, the explosion of craft beer, and the increasing
popularity of light beer, the former king is now
struggling to reclaim its throne. Launched in 1876, Anheuser
Bush’s marquee brand declared itself the king
of beers in the 1940’s. ♪ Budweiser beer is for folks who know ♪ ♪ Where’s there’s life ♪ ♪ There’s Bud ♪ ♪ The King of Beers ♪ ♪ Budweiser ♪ That’s just how advertising
worked back then. However, the modern brand
was really born in the 1980’s when it’s advertising strategy went all in on a single demographic,
dudes who watch sports. Bud sales peaked in 1988, selling more than 50 million barrels. It’s a brand that uses the
Super Bowl to constantly remind people of its iconic status. From the ludicrous Bud
Bowl ads in the late 80’s to talking frogs in
1995 to wassup in 2000. Sorry. To a collection of adorable puppy related hits in more recent years. But the last couple of decades
have arguably been some of its toughest on the market. Budweiser was the top selling
U.S. beer for decades until 2001, when it passed the crown
to its sibling, Bud Light. Then, in 2011, Coors Light knocked Bud out of the second spot. And last year, Miller Lite
took over third place, pushing Bud to number four. I spoke to Monica Rustgi,
Vice President of Marketing for Budweiser about what they’re doing to try to claw back that number one spot. – [Monica] There’s two
things that really are the driving force towards
ensuring that we don’t grow stale with time. And one piece is innovation. Most recently, in the last
two years we’ve introduced the Budweiser Reserve series,
which has been a huge success for us because it’s introduced new news to the lager category. And the second thing that
we’re noticing has changed is obviously choices. The beer category at large
is in decline as a result of introduction and proliferation
of wines and spirits. Those are the realities and
we’ve accepted them quickly. And what’s exciting about this
is whenever there’s pressure comes forced creativity. You know what?
Let’s call our partners at Jim Beam and see if they would
create something with us. Understanding that there’s
an existing behavior with consumers, you get, have
a Bud and a shot of Beam. We’re like, let’s listen to
what consumers are already doing and see if there’s any
new news we can bring to that category. So, we just recently released
the Budweiser Copper Lager aged on Jim Beam bourbon barrel staves which has been the strongest
of all of our Reserve offerings in the last two years. That’s in response to
a change in behavior. – [Narrator] But it’s not
just its innovation that the brand’s had to evolve. Bud has also had to rethink
how younger consumers interact with and experience the brand. – [Monica] Attention now, more than ever, is the toughest thing to fight for because there’s more than just TV, right? And it’s forced us to think
about what are cultural tensions, what do consumers care about, what’s that big idea
that’s gonna cut through, rise above, not necessarily be like white noise vanilla and be forgettable. It’s all about being
remarkable and memorable. So, it’s really forced us to raise the bar on not only the creative
we put out, the formats that we bring it to the
world but also taking risks. And I think that’s a
very important part of moving the needle. – [Narrator] Bud is still an
incredibly powerful brand. One that carries weight around the world. Synonymous with America
and American pop culture. With recent initiatives like
brewing with 100% renewable energy and using the Super
Bowl to hype wind power, Bud is evolving in intriguing ways. – [Monica] I think the
big thing that we’re gonna continue to evolve and focus
on is how we get the new generation to fall in love with our lager the way the generations before have. – [Narrator] It looks
like the challenges of the booze market and reaching an
audience in the digital age have finally jump started
the beer giant to kick its innovative ambition into high gear. It’s gonna need every ounce it can muster to avoid becoming just another
throwback logo on a t-shirt. And keep the Budweiser brand
strong for another 150 years. (upbeat music)

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