Brewers Make Big Plans For Summer — Anheuser-Busch, Coors and Miller Prepare For Heavy Load of Promotions, Tie-Ins

LOS ANGELES – In the perennial fight for in-store display space, Anheuser-Busch is staying local, Miller Brewing is heading north and Adolph Coors is hanging out at the beach.
With sales this summer expected to be flat from a cold and disappointing season last year, the emphasis on displays is stronger than ever. Beer sales probably will fluctuate only 1% this summer, depending on the weather, said Frank Walters of Impact.
With premium and popular brands’ sales down 5% for all of 1992 and an estimated 60% of consumption falling in the second and third quarter, brewers need to grab consumers’ attention.
That could be a challenge, said Hunter Hastings, senior partner at Ryan Management Group. ‘There tend to be pretty weak themes for summer promotions,’ he said. Beer marketers ‘will have to do what A-B’s done with Bud Bowl, which translates well to on-premise displays.’
A-B will push Budweiser, Bud Lite and Bud Dry with displays and radio station tie-ins in the top 25 markets. Its fourth annual ‘Bud Summer’ promotion will try to entice retailers ‘without any huge consumer sweepstakes that would have driven customers into the stores, like last year’s Olympics sweepstakes,’ said Jim Blasingame, account director for Patrick Co., the St. Louis promotion agency handling this year’s effort.
Themed ‘Bring on the Bud,’ the promotion breaks in May with four displays timed to Memorial Day beachgoing, July 4th fireworks, mid-summer barbecues and Labor Day block parties. Each display will include an offer for Bud-logo grills, beach umbrellas, beach chairs and hammocks.
Tie-ins with contemporary adult radio stations in top markets will include giveaways of Jeep, Corvette and Harley-Davidson vehicles as well as tickets to local events.
DMB&B, St. Louis, handles radio and may hire actor Phil Hartman to do the spots. ‘These are real block-and-tackle promotional activities,’ an agency executive said. ‘It’s a very smart strategy for them, because it’ll continue momentum all summer.’ A-B wouldn’t comment on the promotion.
Bud won’t be alone in the supermarket aisle. As part of its ‘Miller Genuine Draft Rocks with Northern Exposure’ promotion, Miller will increase signage at retail and in bars. Some multi-element displays will include a simulated big-screen TV with rotating scenes from the show and Miller products. Displays tailored to different sizes of retail space will simulate The Brick, the bar on Northern Exposure. Some displays will include an inflatable Morty Moose; some carry the Genuine Draft theme ‘Get into the cold’ and the line ‘A very cool place.’ Consumers can order a CD of ‘Chris in the Morning’ songs mixed in with songs from Miller’s ‘Cold’ campaign.
Promotional spots to run during the show will offer co-branded Northern Exposure and Miller Genuine Draft merchandise. BSB/Dryden and Petisi handles the promotion.
Coors’ ‘Coors Light Hot for Summer’ effort ties into Air Miles’ frequent-user program with an ‘Ultimate Beer-B-Que’ sweepstakes awarding cash and air miles to help winners throw a barbecue in their favorite exotic locale. The Memorial Day-to-July 4 promotion was designed to extend the look of Coors Light ads, which use beach imagery year-round, said Michael Green, Coors manager of merchandising and promotion.
Cabana-style displays also offer logoed apparel, sunglasses and a passport case. A separate Labor Day promotion will segue into the fall selling season. Coors handles promotion in-house.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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