IQ News: Beer Marketers to Roll Out on Web

While most giant U.S. beer companies remain cautious about online advertising, several mid-size brewers, including Heineken USA, Labatt USA and Stroh, are warming to the medium. Labatt and Stroh have budgeted dollars to build brand sites and make Internet media buys this fall. Heineken’s new sub-brands, Amstel Bier and Amstel 1870, have been promoted vigorously on- and off-line this summer.
Labatt’s new site will promote its Dos Equis brand. The site, dosx.com, was developed jointly by Labatt USA, The Marketing Continuum, Dallas, and Real Beer Inc., San Francisco. A supporting media plan is still in the works, said Judy Cunningham, director of marketing for Labatt’s Mexican brands, but likely buys include search engines and realbeer.com.
The Internet is a good fit for Dos Equis, noted Cunningham, because its loyal drinkers tend to be computer-literate, upscale and live in wired states such as Texas and California. In addition, Labatt intends to spruce up dosx.com with information about Mexican culture, current events and soccer. That’s the same strategy it uses on its labatt.com site to connect with that brand’s Canadian-dominated audience.
Old Milwaukee, the Stroh brand with the widest reach, also will get its own site this fall. The company is “very interested in the medium,” said Dave Dixon, director of marketing operations at Stroh Brewery.
Brewers have been reluctant to make any buys on high-traffic sites for fear that watchdog groups, such as Campaign for Media Education, will accuse them of marketing to minors. As a result, the majors have poured anywhere from $350,000 to $1 million (in the case of Budweiser) into site construction, but spent few dollars on Web advertising, according to Mark Silva, founder of Real Beer Inc., an online publisher and marketing consultancy for beer companies. –Bernhard Warner