Thursday, September 24, 2015

Macrobreweries and micromarketing

After reading Trevor Carpenter's comment about Anheuser Busch's acquisition of Golden Road Brewing, I was not only reminded of Anheuser Busch's recent macro brew Super Bowl ad, but was also reminded about the company's worst advertising stumble - its efforts to rally patriotic fervor in the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match, despite the fact that Anheuser Busch is owned by the Belgian company InBev.

But the advertisements work. While a few laugh at the hypocrisy, most people go ahead and buy the beer based upon the resonating message.

But Anheuser Busch and its competitors have even more potent advertising campaigns at the local level - the very local level.

If I were to dare to wear Google Glass into Shotwell's Bar in San Francisco, I would presumably run into some neon signs touting Budweiser and the San Francisco Giants, or Budweiser and the San Francisco 49ers. If I were a San Francisco resident, this would make me feel good, knowing that that brewer guy in Belgium - I mean St. Louis - was rooting for my teams. So I'd order a Budweiser. And another.

(Tangential note: for certain products, including alcohol and casino gambling, the best customer that you can have is an addict who has not yet been diagnosed. He or she will cheerfully run up the bills buying your products, and since the addiction hasn't been diagnosed, the banks and others will do nothing to stop the spending.)

Imagine for the moment that a man somehow grew up in San Francisco and never left the city limits for the first 31 years of his life. This man would have spent some time in bars, with these comforting messages about how his American beer company really loves his team.

Then, one day, the man makes a wrong turn, boards the wrong BART, and ends up in the faraway mystical land of Oakland. Shaken up by the experience, he pops into a bar for relief and is shocked to discover neon signs touting Budweiser and the Oakland Athletics, or Budweiser and the Oakland Raiders.

Heaven help the guy if he stumbled into an airport and ended up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Actually, according to Rodger Sherman, he'd be safe in Dallas, at least from the NFL perspective. Anheuser Busch does not sponsor the Dallas Cowboys (or the Bears, Packers, or Vikings). But they are the official sponsor for the other 28 NFL teams, and have created advertisements about 1972 (for Miami) and shoveling snow (for Buffalo). As the Buffalo ad indicates, the marketing staff began running out of ideas after a while.

Indianapolis Colts: The perfect beer for horsing around with the boys in blue.

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