America’s most popular beer is set to re-enter the UK market 16 years after its first attempt, but as its target audience of 18 to 30 year-olds increasingly eschew bigger beer names for craft alternatives, does the Bud Light brand have enough clout to win them over?
The AB InBev-owned brand will appear behind UK bars and on supermarket shelves from now ahead of a multimillion pound campaign set for a mid-march launch. One that the brewer is billing as ‘the biggest’ in a number of years.
The brand is hoping that its lower alcohol content (3.5% ABV) will appeal to a younger generation of drinkers who are increasingly drinking less and want to consumer fewer calories. It is also relying on the fact that the brand already has a healthy awareness in the UK of 63%. But despite Bud Light’s leading position in the US, it has seen better days in terms of performance. It saw disappointing sales in the third quarter in October last year, continuing a trend of waning sales over the last few years as drinkers flock to trendier craft alternatives.
Despite this, Bud Light senior brand manager Andre Finamore believes that millenials are not necessarily looking for craft beer but for “offerings that go in line with their expectations from alcoholic beverages”.
“We know that what they want is something that goes in line with their behaviours and trends,” he told The Drum. “So there is a huge trend around moderation as you know, so that means around alcohol, and calories as well. We know that the younger demographic looks for all those credentials in those products that Bud Light delivers against. We do have a lighter taste that reflects their palettes.
“From a brand point of view, we know that they are looking for something that reflects well on them so they want to be seen drinking a band that has a good image and is associated with higher quality and Bud Light can deliver against all that. The brand that has a lot of credentials, is young and contemporary and that demographic will want to be seen drinking it.”
In terms of marketing strategy the drink will be billed as not just light in taste but also “in the attitude and the personality of the brand”. The creative for the campaign is still under wraps, but will follow the same theme with a light hearted approach. However, the work will differ from that seen in the US with work created by agency Wieden+Kennedy London to reflect local tastes.
The campaign will include TV advertising, out-of-home, print and digital, plus PR and social media activations.