Budweiser Lets You Buy Beer for Your Facebook Friends

But will it catch on?

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Brands have been testing social commerce for quite some time, despite the fact that initiatives have been notoriously slow to catch on. Now, Budweiser is getting into the game with the launch of two programs called Bud Light Birthday and Buds for Buds today.

The Anheuser Busch-owned brand and agency AKQA are rolling out the pilot programs in Denver and Chicago that will soon be launched nationally.

Bud Light Birthday lets Facebook users dole out free vouchers for Budweiser or Bud Light to of-age consumers on their birthdays. Buds for Buds is aimed at celebrating other types of special occasions and uses credit card information to let consumers buy a voucher priced at $4.50-$6. To send the gifts, Facebook users fill out an online form with their friend’s information.

After a gift is sent, recipients can click through on posts to a link to redeem the offer. Showing a mobile device with the link pulled up (along with an ID) at bars' point-of-sale will get drinkers a gratis Budweiser or Bud Light.

Bud Light’s Facebook campaign is an interesting departure from the number of brands experimenting with commerce on Twitter.

Yesterday, Twitter rolled out a universal 'Buy' button that marketers can employ to drive sales from tweets. Starbucks and Coca-Cola have also tried Twitter gifting with programs that let users send others small gifts.

But for Bud Light, Facebook has a significantly bigger audience. The brand has roughly 106,000 followers on Twitter compared to more than seven million on Facebook. Per Bud Light, its "Puppy Love" Super Bowl ad was the most shared ad on Facebook, churning out 1.3 million shares.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.