No, Budweiser is not putting its Clydesdales out to pasture.
Reacting to a flurry of news stories repeating The Wall Street Journal’s claim earlier this week that Budweiser would abandon its iconic Clydesdale horses for a more millennial-friendly approach, the brewer issued a statement reaffirming the horses’ importance to the brand.
On both Facebook and Twitter, the company wrote, “Don’t believe everything that trends. The Budweiser #Clydesdales aren’t going anywhere.”
The company added that the horses will be part of its 2015 Super Bowl ads and upcoming responsible-drinking campaigns, including one with ride-sharing app Lyft. Promoted on Twitter under the headline "Budweiser Gives Epic Lyfts Home," the campaign features a 30-second video in which partygoers get a horse-drawn escort home.
The equestrian brouhaha has given the American beer brand an inadvertent publicity boost at a time when parent company AB-InBev is struggling to attract a new generation of drinkers. AB-InBev’s market share in the U.S. dropped by 30 basis points in the last quarter, according to Bloomberg, mostly due to low Budweiser sales.
Targeting millennial consumers who value the apparent authenticity of craft beers and ciders over Budweiser’s mass-brewed lager, the company is focusing on nostalgia in its recent marketing efforts, including vintage-style wooden crates of beer and its #HolidayBuds campaign.
But the Clydesdales could suit that approach too. Not only do Budweiser’s equine “ambassadors of excellence” have a history dating to 1933, they also have their own blog on the Budweiser website.