Beer drinkers, are you ready to drink some America? (I’ll wait until you mull that over.)
Yes, the Budweiser America campaign will be in full swing this summer, beginning later this month. Budweiser is changing the name of its brand to America through November’s elections.
Sounds like a great pairing of brands, right? Not so fast. In fact, it’s a cynical, barely concealed move by a brand that is going the redundant route. Budweiser doesn’t need to be called America because, even though a Belgium brewery now owns it, the brand already means America. Doing this is like Apple changing its name to Innovation.
There’s a great deal of desperation within the Budweiser America campaign as beer sales of the major brands across the industry are dropping. The craft beers are eating market share and more drinkers are turning to wine and spirits. The major beer brands are beginning to feel they are becoming less relevant.
What the Budweiser America campaign does to the brand.
But Budweiser is still the market leader, especially its Bud Light brand, and those who prefer Bud are very loyal to the brand. You can ask a craft beer drinker what they want and they’ll ask, “Whadda got?” Ask a Bud drinker and they’ll say, “I’ll have a Bud.”
The underlying reason why Budweiser has been one of America’s strongest brands is because it is enthused with so much Americana without having to changes it name. Budweiser has already meant America.
What this demonstrates is that those at InBev (the Belgium company that owns Budweiser, along with Corona and Stella Artois) have little faith in the brand as it now stands.
Which is weird. Corona and Stella Artois are also powerful beer brands so you would think that InBev would have a great understanding of what makes brands work. The naked Budweiser America campaign is cynical because it suggests Americans will wake up and go, “Oh. Budweiser is for Americans. I never knew that.”
The campaign shows a complete misunderstanding of the power of the Budweiser brand itself. Maybe InBev doesn’t understand brand as well as we all thought.