Bud Light Touts ‘Drinkability’

CHICAGO Anheuser-Busch tries to disprove the theory that all light beers taste the same in a new $50 million campaign for Bud Light, accompanied by the tagline: “The difference is drinkability.”

TV spots, via Havas’ Euro RSCG, Chicago, will break during college football telecasts this weekend. Baseball stadium signage also sports the new tagline. (Omnicom’s DDB in Chicago has also fashioned upcoming commercials in the campaign.)

All six spots show a beer-drinking occasion, such as a backyard bash, a pool party and a tailgate gathering. Three of the spots begin with a reveler stating that either light beers are the same, taste the same or “fill me up.” Then everyone freezes as an actor strides through the still scene defining the term “drinkability.” One ad explains the concept of “being easier to drink” by illustrating the difference between drinking a raindrop or hail, a bottle of beer or a bottle of hot sauce. Another ad tries bolstering Bud Light’s claim of “having just the right taste, not too heavy, not too watered down” by demonstrating drinkability as the difference between eating carrot sticks and a stick, and drinking bird bath water versus spring water.
The new work seems to be a response to MillerCoor’s strategy to take on the No. 1 beer brand by positioning Miller Lite as a beer that offers “great taste” and Coors Light as “The world’s most refreshing beer.” The new Bud Light ads take on both slogans with mentions like “easy drinking taste” and “that just right taste that won’t fill you up.”

Keith Levy, vp, brand management at A-B, however, said the Bud Light campaign is not a direct response to competing brands, but the evolution of a concept that the brewer has been advertising since the fourth quarter of 2007. Back then, A-B introduced a campaign called “Bud Light keeps it coming,” which showcased the beer’s “superior drinkability” and mocked superpowers like breathing fire and X-ray vision.

“We’ve been on this for quite a while now,” said Levy. “It was a bit of an aha! [moment] for us as we looked at research. We have this unique superiority claim that other light beer brands don’t enjoy . . . This latest round is probably the most successful attempt at that so far.”

The campaign is aimed at Bud Light loyalists and a group that A-B’s consumer segmentation study dubbed as “the aspirers” — meaning drinkers that tend to be Latino and looking for brands to trade up to. Accordingly, the initiative will include Spanish-language spots, via Latin Works, Austin, Texas, with the tag “Toma bilidad” (“Easy to drink”). Radio, online, in-store and Internet also will support. The ads will run until the first quarter of next year, when new executions break closer to the Super Bowl.

A-B, which is on track to close a merger with InBev, has been performing well after posting a 2 percent increase in sales to retailers during the summer. Bud Light case sales in grocery, drug and mass outlets, excluding Wal-Mart, grew 2 percent and Bud Light Lime was up 0.6 percent for the year, ended Sept. 2. Miller Lite, on the other hand, declined 0.6 percent and Coors Light increased 6 percent, per Information Resources, Chicago.

This story corrects and updates an earlier item, noting that Euro RSCG crafted the initial spots, while DDB’s will launch at a later date.