We have, over the course of the 10-year history of Stealing Share, worked with several beer companies because they are often the ones in need of the most help. Even now, we use that industry as a demonstration of a category lost when it comes to brand.
The reasons are very simple: Only two beers have meaningful brands, the market leader (Budweiser) and Corona, and the rest of the market apes Budweiser’s brand and marketing so thoroughly you can’t tell the difference.
Because of that, Budweiser is practically a monopoly in the beer industry, with more than 40% of the market (when you combine Bud Light with the main Budweiser brand). That number is gigantic when you consider there are so many different brands of beer in market.
The copycat nature of the industry only helps Bud, as audiences walk away from most beer advertising thinking it was a Bud ad.
I bring this up because there is one shining brand in the market, Corona. Currently, it holds more than 5% of the U.S. market – good enough for sixth place – and is easily the top imported beer.
I was reminded of the band seeing its new football-themed ad over the weekend, in which two bikini-clad women are besieged by footballs so the men on the beach can be near them to retrieve the footballs. The spot inches toward the Bud brand (authentic guys) but within the context of the Corona brand (relaxing).
That does concern me a bit, as last year’s “lime” ad was much more effective and on brand. While the current ad does fine – there’s no mistaking it with a Bud spot – its meaning is that one step closer to Bud. I hope they don’t go all the way and keep it right at this temperature.
The rule of brand positioning is just as simple as the reasons for stagnation in the market: Be different and better (more meaningful) than your competition. Corona has done that because it has, for now at least, understood that’s the simplest way to steal market share.