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Budweiser - Brand and Business


Budweiser is the number three beer brand in America. Budweiser is positioned as a patriotic brand that embodies "core American values" such as "optimism and celebration." Within the US, Budweiser is viewed as the beer for 'authentic and genuine' men as well as 'friendly and low-maintenance women' of "middle-America." Budweiser's drinkers are middle-class and working-class Americans that are "practical", they're "emotionally steady", and they are also "not as keen on authority."

Budweiser's Business

Budweiser (and this includes Bud Light) is the single "biggest brand" for the Anheuser-Busch InBev corporation. In 2008 this global beer giant was created when Anheuser-Busch was purchased by the Belgium-based In-Bev corporation. As of May 2017, Budweiser's brand value is at $24.6 billion. Budweiser is the number 3 beer brand in the United States with only Coors Light and Bud Light ahead of them in terms of volume.

The Budweiser Brand

Budweiser views itself as "an icon of core American values"; core values of America such as "optimism and celebration." For avid beer-drinkers, "Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp American-style lager." How Budweiser is viewed though is a different story.

A marketing study that was conducted online in 2015 showed results that stated Budweiser makes men who drink it seem "authentic" and "genuine" while the women that drink it are seen as "friendly" and "low maintenance". At that point in time though, the marketing effort, that was being promoted by Budweiser, received some pushback. The pushback was based on the "retro and sexist tones" of the results.

Who Drinks Budweiser

Budweiser turned out to be the drink of choice for 59% of respondents and had an even bigger percentage of women that were low-maintenance and friends where 70% of them chose Budweiser. For men that were considered to be 'putting on airs', Budweiser was only the choice of 6% of respondents who wanted to be seen as 'sophisticated' and 'demanding'. Whereas for women, only 4% of respondents would drink a Budweiser if they wanted to be perceived as 'high maintenance'' with 'expensive taste'. This gives us a sense of who is not drinking Budweiser.

Budweiser also received pushback in 2016 for a campaign that they pursued when they announced that the Anheuser-Busch cans and bottles would read "America" instead of Budweiser over a period of six months. On social media, people were not happy about this change where much of the criticism stemmed from people that said, "Budweiser isn't very American at all".

This criticism was not wrong as Anheuser-Busch is owned by an overseas corporation, InBev. Even still, Budweiser is the number 3 beer in the United States with sales of over $2 billion, which is almost $4 billion less than its sister beer, Bud Light, whose sales were almost $6 billion.

With all the backlash though, Anheuser-Busch still proved the power of the 'America' campaign and why it was a great marketing move. The campaign did three things effectively:

1) "It got people talking" on social media which adds up to free marketing.

2) It helped "win back" some of their core customers. At the time, Budweiser sales were declining over the last few quarters. A prior study showed that 42% of Budweiser drinkers were more likely to drive a truck. The study also concluded that Budweiser drinkers were practical, emotionally steady and weren't too keen on authority. This campaign helped re-position Budweiser as "the beer of middle America". The "America" cans directly spoke to this person.

3) It helped Budweiser "connect emotionally" with Americans. What is more timely than an 'America' beer during the summer of 2016? The campaign helped bring Americans together and also connected to their consumers on a more human level.

Who does not Drink Budweiser

With all of this said, it is important to know who is not drinking Budweiser as well. More than 50% of millennial beer drinkers have never touched a Budweiser beer far less drank it. This is due to the increasing popularity with millennials of "craftier beers" made by smaller brewers. Sales of Budweiser as well as its sister-brand, Bud Light, have consistently fallen since 2013.

Another trend that has contributed to this decline has been how popular 'light' beers have become due to them being perceived as healthy and less filling. Also, American drinks have started switching to consume more wine and spirits.


In closing, Budweiser has positioned itself as a brand that embodies "core American values" like "optimism and celebration". As a man, if you want to be perceived as "authentic and genuine" then there is a high chance you drink Budweiser. If you are a woman that wants to be seen as "friendly and low-maintenance" then Budweiser is overwhelmingly the beer for you. Budweiser's drinkers are "middle-class and working-class" Americans. The main groups of people that don't drink Budweiser are Millennials, "sophisticated" men, women with "expensive taste" and high-maintenance people.
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Budweiser - Advertising

Several of Budweiser's current advertising campaigns remain consistent with the company's ideals by recycling themes common to their advertising campaigns over the years. We compared the current advertisements to historical records and were able to see some patterns other than reoccurring themes. One such pattern was the continuous evolution of there adds over time as they stay relevant with the changing personalities of their target demographic. This year's Super Bowl campaign while divergent from traditional themes was a continuation of this evolutionary push as the focus is shifted to Millennials.

Since the request was for us to focus only current advertisements, we searched for Budweiser commercials published in the last 2 months. We were able to identify and provide video for 3 such ads. We then searched for historical ads so that we might make a comparison and determine any trends that exist and may influence the company's current marketing tactics.

Historical Ad Campaigns

When researching Budweiser's historical advertisements we were able to determine that several reoccurring themes can be seen. The main themes we saw recycled over the years were an appreciation for blue-collar working men and the military, competitive sports and animals. One of the most iconic of all of Budweiser's historical add campaigns was "This Bud's for You". The campaign was tailored predominately to male blue collar workers, and essentially was implying that this demographic should go have a Budweiser as they have earned it through all the hard work.

Sports has also played a huge role in Budweiser's ad campaigns. Several ads have been made featuring football, UFC, and auto racing over the years. The "1989 Bud Bowl" campaign where Budweiser bottles played a game of football against Bud Light is one example of this.

Budweiser also frequently used animals for their marketing campaigns. The iconic Clydesdales have become the unofficial mascot of the brand. The Budweiser frogs responsible for monopolizing the 21-30yr old demographic during the 1990s and making Bud the #1 beer in the US at the time. As far back as the year 2000, the brand has also featured dogs. Within the last few years, Budweiser has chosen to focus several ads both the Clydesdales and puppies.

Budweiser's original focal demographic was working-class men. However, as time progresses and people change the demographic also changes. As Event's like the Super Bowl were realized to be watched by all ages and sexes the brand adapted and began to incorporate animals into their advertising scheme to appeal to a wider audience. In the digital age, the company's more recent strategy became to draw out emotional reactions which increase the likelihood that their ads will be widely shared among both younger and older viewers.

Current Ad Campaigns

While over the years there has been an evolution in Budweiser's target audience and theme of their advertisements. Their current adds are consistent with what has been seen in the past as they continue to use of reoccurring themes. The one example that we found which did not utilize reoccurring themes appears to play to the next step in their evolution as they target Millennials. Two examples of most recent commercials which hold true to the companies traditional marketing preferences and utilize the sports theme are “Baseball Fans Don’t Just Drink Budweiser” and the “FIFA World Cup 2018”.

One of the more recent campaigns diverges from traditional tactics to continue the company's evolution by foregoing their traditionally reoccurring themes. Recent research has shown, that younger consumers choose brands that "they believe hold their values". In an attempt to capitalize on this with Millennials the "Stand by You" campaign diverged from more traditional advertising schemes by playing on the company's recent strategy to elicit an emotional response. The campaign included a Super Bowl commercial and the dedication of the company's entire homepage to the 30-year history of their water donation efforts during Super Bowl weekend.

Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University has shown companies who are able to indicate an infused purpose show an increase in productivity and profits. 2018 is an extension of a brand campaign that leverages the power of storytelling to make an emotional connection with its customers and its employees.

The 2018 Super Bowl campaign leveraged the story of the company's "philanthropic water giveaway program", highlighting their initiative to give away canned water to those affected by natural disasters
in an attempt to make a connection with their customers and target Millennials.


Overall, Budweiser continues to embrace themes, such as sports, animals and appreciation for blue-collar workers and the military, which have long since been present in their ad campaigns. While their tactics remain much the same as they have always been the company also continues to evolve by making use of current research in an attempt to adapt to the changing market and remain relevant.