My classmate, Emma Massey, wrote recently about the advertising at the Superbowl and the new techniques companies are using to reach the maximum amount of consumers possible.
Her post was interesting in its own right, but what fascinated me was a link to Budweiser’s leaked Superbowl commercial — a minute-long ad that I had not yet seen — and it’s complete lack of product promotion.
As a disclaimer, I do not work, study or participate in advertising development; I do however watch a fair amount of TV and Youtube. I also am pretty freaking susceptible to advertising. I’m not saying I always call Papa John’s when I see Peyton Manning on TV, but I also don’t not call. Take it for what it is.
Returning to the original point, Budweiser is a beer company. It has been for more than a century, and while I understand the symbolism with the Clydesdales and Dalmatians, Budweiser amazingly has never dabbled in the PetsMart business model.
So why is the company spending millions of dollars on a minute of content that never mentions its beer? Because the company already has its base consumers.
If the marketing team in St. Louis decided to talk about flavor/calorie/price of the beer, then no new audiences are reached; the customers who have always bought Miller Lite are not going to start buying Bud Light because a commercial talked about the extra hops.
But Budweiser is not losing any of these typical beer drinkers (read: middle-aged men). With these heartstring-pulling commercials, the company is hoping to get a firm grip on a new demographic that beer companies have not traditionally capitalized on: women.
Puppies! Horses! A tear-inducing reunion!
Amazingly, Budweiser did not make this commercial in attempt to keep lifelong beer drinkers. This was to 1. bring in more women consumers and 2. set the subconscious seed in the underage demographic.
Think of your Facebook feed; out of everyone who shared the Budweiser Superbowl ad, how many of them were actually of age to drink? For me, the legal drinkers were the convincing minority.
This is another one of the company’s intentions. Out of the 1.5 million shares this videos has accumulated, odds are underaged watchers do not realize that they are subconsciously associating Budweiser — and most importantly, its beer — with family, puppies, horses and of course, America.
Is this ethical? That’s not really my place to say, but I will say that this practice is intelligent. Companies, or at least smart ones, can never be content with what they are doing. There always has to be innovation, there always has to be an effort to reach out to a segment of the population that is not yet enamored with your product.
Budweiser is doing just that, and you can’t fault them for that.