Budweiser marketing offence fails to pay off as sales continue to slump

Budweiser’s attempts to turn around the fizzling popularity of Bud and Bud Light have failed to pay off after parent company Anheuser-Busch Inbev said yesterday (30 July) sales of its two top beers have continued to fall in the US in the second quarter.

Despite ramping up its marketing to clamber back market share in the sector, which is increasingly being dominated by the craft beer trend, Budweiser was unable to return to its position as the king of beer.

It’s largest market, the US, saw sales of Budweiser fall 2.2 per cent to retailers, while Bud Light’s performance was similarly disappointing.

“We can and must do better with Bud Light,” AB InBev CEO Carlos Alves de Brito said on a call with investors.

While new campaigns, such as its Brew The Hard Way drive in the US, has helped to plug waning sales of Budweiser Brito admitted, “we still have a long way to go” to stabilise the brand. Marketing spend is expected to increase throughout 2015 in “mid to high single digits”.

The world’s largest brewer saw a sharp drop in net profit in the quarter with revenue falling in four of the company’s six markets, including the US and Brazil. Revenue fell 9 per cent to $11.1bn from $12.2bn a year ago.

Brazil was another difficult market for Ab InBev with beer volumes down by 8.6 per cent attributed to a “very difficult FIFA World Cup comparable”, which accounted for approximately 5.5 percentage points of the decline.

Changing tastes and a growing appetite for craft beer could partly be to blame for disappointing result; sales of which rose 16 per cent in the first quarter, according to independent beer maker trade group the Brewers Association.

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