Budweiser Reminding People It Exists By Giving Away Free Budweiser

Looks like the King of Beer’s crown could use some polishing. Bothered by sagging sales and the availability of other beers that aren’t Budweiser, the folks at Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V. LLD, DDS, PhD, Esq., have decided it’s time to give a few hundred thousand people a massive lager lesson — by giving away samples of Bud.

According to USA Today, the Budweiser name has seen better days:

Bud unit sales were down 9% last year and are down the same this year… Beer drinkers have lost loyalty to Bud for the past seven years, research firm Brand Keys reports. Bud’s ranking among national product brands slipped from 16th in 2003 to 220th in 2010.

But the A-B pint-pushers aren’t giving up.

“Brands can come back,” the company’s president tells the paper. “Consumers have a high awareness of the brand, but some haven’t tried it in a long time.”

So in addition to doing the usual “launch a Facebook page and air some hip, new ads during college football games” approach, Budweiser plans to hand out 500,000 free samples of the beer between now and mid-October.

But one brand consultant tells USA Today he’s not terribly impressed. “They’re in trouble because they don’t know how to talk to consumers,” he says. “They no longer know how to create an emotional bond.”

Latest ad strategy to freshen Budweiser’s image: Free beer [USA Today]

Comments

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  1. RxDude says:

    I know what Bud tastes like. That’s why I DON’T drink it.

    • MrAgen10 says:

      +1

    • Sparty999 says:

      A person who truly appreciates beer in all it’s different forms and styles wouldn’t say that…

      • RxDude says:

        Some beer “forms and styles” are only good for cooking, if that.

        Michelob is becoming the Real Beer division of AB. Some of their recent brews actually have flavor and body.

      • jaredwilliams says:

        How could you truly appreciate shitty beer when you have had and appreciate good beer. I would drink Budweiser if instead of trying to get you to drink their horrible beer by putting a Budweiser logo on a chicks tits and making stupid commercials they changed the taste of their beer or came out with a new idea that actually changed the beer. Just like Coors. Their beer sucks but instead of changing that they just change their stupid cans.

        The best way to drink a beer, believe it or not, is warm. All the impurities and ingredients come out in a warm beer.

        Theres a reason why no one in America likes warm beer, because Americans are used to drinking Budweiser, Coors, michelob and crap like that.

  2. chaesar says:

    giving it away like a girl desperate for attention

    bad move Budweiser, this is not how you earn respect

  3. shepd says:

    Wish free alcoholic samples were legal, here. Last beer testing they had to sell me a glass. :( Oh well.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Who’s Bud?

    If they are the king of beers, maybe they should license the use of Burger King’s creepy King for some commercials.

  5. SonarTech52 says:

    For me it’s not just Bud, but most american beers in general (Sam Adams excluded). I blame living in Germany for enlightening me to what beer should taste like.

    • tmac40 says:

      America has the best beer in the world, they just hide it behind the Bud, Miller, Coors swill.

    • Boylerules says:

      American commercial beers, I would agree. However, American craft brewers like Boston Beer (Sam Adams), Rogue, Stone, Dechutes, and a ton of others make beer that easily compete or surpass beers from anywhere in quality.

      The American craft brewing scene is amazing right now.

      • MrAgen10 says:

        Totally agree. Here in Portland, we have a dizzying array of craft brewers, and they’re all unique.

      • johnva says:

        Craft brewing is still commercial brewing.

        • Boylerules says:

          I suppose you’re correct, any brewer selling their beer would in fact be a commercial brewery. However, my experience in the beer drinking community differentiates the “mega-commercial brewers” (Bud, Coors, Miller, Papst etc.) from the “craft brewers.”

          • jaredwilliams says:

            As the craft brewers at those breweries like Harpoon, Sam Adams, Red Hook etc say, Budweiser/InBev spill more beer on the floor than we make in a whole year. That’s a craft beer.

  6. pop top says:

    “Budweiser plans to hand out 500,000 free samples of the beer between now and mid-October…”

    …as a reminder to everyone why they shouldn’t drink Budweiser.

  7. Pooterfish says:

    Maybe Bud can pick up an ironic-retro-cool hipster cachet and be the next PBR.

    • chaesar says:

      apparently it is the true punk rock beer, I have heard this from many people but never an explanation why

      • babyruthless says:

        PBR supports live local music. As to which is the chicken and which is the egg, I do not know. But yes, the young hipster kids love PBR.

    • Battlehork says:

      That’s their best hope. Bud is in a position where there’s better beers at about the same price and cheaper beers that are roughly the same quality.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Is PBR cool now?

      I buy it for the same reason I buy Blatz. It’s cheap and good for getting drunk while tailgating.

  8. matthewcw says:

    Is it just me or is this “brand consultant” completely missing the point here. I have a feeling many beer drinkers can’t be bought back through “brand” smoke and mirrors simply because smaller regional and micro-breweries are simply putting out a completely superior product. No “branding” strategy is going to bring back those who discovered (or rediscovered) how great beer can actually taste. The problem is not a failure of branding, the problem is a failure of a mega-conglomerate to produce something consumers actually want to consume.

    • Saltpork says:

      Budweiser got a ton of bad PR from it’s base consumers when it sold to a foreign company a few years back. That’s a big reason why. It was one of the biggest American-owned beer companies and now it’s not. I live in MO and here Bud has lost out to other ‘beer’ for this very reason.

      Another reason is what everyone has said about smaller brewers coming into the market with better product.

    • Silverhawk says:

      Exactly. Spot on.

    • meske says:

      I don’t think the larger loss is to craft beer – I think it’s to the other large producers, and if that’s the case, you could bring back some of the bud drinkers.

      Frankly, I’m a huge craft beer fan, but still stock the fridge with the “normal” beer’s (i.e. miller lite, bud, etc.) because sometimes those are better suited for the event (or for company). Definitely some nostalgia there for bud.

    • SuperSnackTime says:

      I would disagree with you. Budweiser tastes essentially the same as every other generi-Amwerican macro brew. Priced similarly as well. It *is* the branding that’s the differentiator… cynical consumers can roll their eyes and say nonsense like “branding” doesn’t matter… but go ask Old Spice what it means to “get the branding right” when you’re not *really* different in any meaningful way from your competitors.

      Superior branding DOES differentiate similar offerings, DOES lead to increased market share, and DOES lead to be able to sell at a price premium. This isn’t my opinion, this is the opinion expressed via real data.

      You’re right in the sense that knowledgeable beer drinkers have migrated away from Bud (and every other similarly-priced macro American lager)… but those are completely out of the product category Budweiser (this specific product) competes in and are thus irrelevant in terms of trying to recapture via the Budwesier product. So yes, Bud may not be able to reclaim the market share it once had by virtue of the market becoming smaller… but superior branding can help it reclaim some of its lost share, no doubt.

      I think the branding consultant is spot-on.

      • jaredwilliams says:

        I’m sorry what does deodorant have to do with beer again?
        You have to use deodorant or you will smell, you do not have to drink beer.

        If Budweiser isn’t marketing right then it’s merely because they market TOO much instead of putting money into the taste.

        Craft beers only make up 10 percent of consumption of all beers, but it’s growing every year by large amounts.

        Budweiser has the best brand recognition, the most commercials in the best prime-time slots, and take up most of the beer sections in every convenience/grocery store. The other company that advertises ALMOST as Budweiser is Coors, which also hasn’t seen any real gain…probably because they advertise random changes on a fucking container. Who cares…

        So how then could it slip down as much as it has.

        It’s because their beer friggin blows dude.

        Try watching Beer Wars.

        Maybe you’ll understand, when it comes down to it, consumers don’t give a fuck how much the beer is shoved in their face, if it isn’t good tasting they won’t drink it.

        As someone said earlier, PBR doesn’t have TV commercials, all they do is sponsor local music in the underground man. It’s not like they are buying arenas or buying rights to Fallout Boy or something ridiculous like that. PBR is the same quality (in my opinion) at the same price.

        It also has been more recognized by previous generations than Budweiser, but not for newer generations. They’ve found a way to be recognized by todays of age drinkers.

    • LandruBek says:

      DARTH INBEV: I find your lack of faith . . . disturbing.

  9. Andy says:

    TL;DR – Budweiser still sucks, lets give our product away which may or may not be legal.

  10. rage says:

    The beer advocate gives Budweiser D+ I agree.
    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/29/65/

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      There’s something special about reading reviews on Budweiser’s flavor.
      If I need cheap beer it’s PBR or Bogg’s (Miller Lite)

  11. grapedog says:

    needs more frogs…

    I spend my sundays watching football at this restaurant chain called “Old Chicago”, they have 110 beers from around the world. Prizes available after you try all 110, though you can only get credit for 4 a day. Bud is on that list, but there are so many other good ales. Really a huge fan of Belhaven Scottish Ale now, and the Brazilian Xingu…

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      Xingu is pretty good here, but it’s amazing when you find it in Brasil after a month of drinking the bud-imitating local swills.

    • XTC46 says:

      that 4 a day rule keeps kicking me…there is a bar here that has something like 50 kinds of tequila, but you can only get credit for trying 4 a day as well…I want to try all 50 in 1 day, not that would be deserving of a prize.

    • simpleton says:

      XINGU IS AWESOME. its taking over NY.

  12. dreamfish says:

    Glad to see there are those here who recognise how disgusting Budweiser is and don’t simply choose to drink it because it’s patriotic and “the beer that represents America”.

    • RxDude says:

      If one were to make a Venn diagram of Bud/Coors/Miller drinkers and Harley riders, I suspect there would be a significant overlap.

    • Southern says:

      Glad to see there are those here who recognise how disgusting Budweiser is and don’t simply choose to drink it because it’s patriotic and “the beer that represents America”.

      Maybe because they don’t?

      Budweiser sold out to a Belgium-owned company called “InBev” back in 2008.

      • pop top says:

        That doesn’t mean anything. It still employs a large number of Americans, was created in America by Americans, has been around for generations (“my daddy’s daddy drank Bud…”) and has many breweries all across the country. I understand your point, but to many it is still very American.

        • kross10c says:

          the majority of the profit from bud light goes to another country.I bet your dad wouldn’t have like that.

          • pop top says:

            1. I don’t care where their money goes, I don’t drink beer. 2. My father doesn’t drink Bud and could give a shit about where their money goes either, I was just making up that quote.

        • dailyWAV says:

          At least here in the St. Louis area, they’ve laid-off a lot of Americans. In this city the anti-Bud sentiment is not so much about flavor (although personally, I’d rather drive out to Lawrence, KS and get me some Free State beer), but about business practices: laying off a lot of people who’ve worked there for decades, cutting off donations to charitable organizations, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case in any city that has one of the AB/InBev brewing/bottling facilities.

          • haggis for the soul says:

            Yes. Even though I don’t like their beer, I was sad the day that Inbev bought A-B out. I knew the brewery’s long-standing connection to the St. Louis community was going to be severed, and it didn’t take long.

  13. superfluousK says:

    I was told there would be free beer?

  14. Erika says:

    Everyone I know compare Bud to piss, so unless they can get that imagery out of people’s heads, then I doubt their sales will go up.

  15. tmac40 says:

    Good try but, I make my own beer at home.

  16. El_Fez says:

    “They’re in trouble because they don’t know how to talk to consumers,” he says. “They no longer know how to create an emotional bond.”

    That or the fact that Bud tastes like Sex in a Canoe (AKA fuckin’ close to water)

  17. Mr_Human says:

    The message isn’t the problem; it’s the beer.

  18. Daverson says:

    I wouldn’t even drink free Budweiser.

  19. deadandy says:

    I think Anheuser-Busch heavily underestimated the marketing effect of merging with a Belgian beer company. Their core customer base was the whole “Buy American” crowd and they pretty much negated that with the merger.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure my next door neighbor went down gung-ho to buy his new Dodge Ram without realizing all his money went to Italy, so I may be way off base.

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      “All” of his money did NOT to to Italy. Some of it paid salaries in your community and property taxes for the dealer. Some of it went to employees in the US offices and manufacturing plants. Still more of it paid licenses and fees that support your county and state.

      Hyperbole much?

    • Griking says:

      This is the comment that I was looking for and I agree 100% with it. I stopped buying Budweiser products once they were bought out.

  20. reimero says:

    The problem with Bud (and Miller, and Coors and the other American mass-produced popular beers) is that they’re made with rice malt. Back in WWII, barley and wheat were rationed for the war effort, but rice was cheap and plentiful, so brewers began using rice malt in beer, thus giving birth to the American-style lager. GIs quickly got used to the rice malt lager (not knowing any better), and so that’s what they drank when they returned to the States.

    There are now enough imports and craft brews readily available that the generation of under-30s has figured out that mass-produced rice malt-based lagers just aren’t that good. If you want a cheap buzz, brand doesn’t matter, and if you want taste, avoid the rice malt altogether. A-B doesn’t want to admit it, but their target audience is aging, and their flagship product will disappear unless they change their recipe.

    • Pooterfish says:

      The Reader’s Digest of beers?

    • maubs says:

      I don’t drink American macro-brews because of the corn-based dextrose used as an adjunct in all of them. There’s one advantage to a corn allergy — I don’t drink crappy beer!
      Corn in beer leads to awful taste. It’s why the cheap ones are so bad.

      • stormbird says:

        Sounds like you’ve got an evolutionary advantage there. Allergic to bad food and crap beer. So your doctor says you’ll live to be what, 200?

  21. JDAC says:

    Q: Why is drinking Budweiser like making love in a raft?

    A: Because it’s fucking close to water.

  22. Ted3 says:

    How about improving your core product, Budweiser?

  23. nova3930 says:

    But if I want water, all I have to do is turn on the tap….

  24. JRock says:

    There are so many better beers that are easily available nowadays. I don’t even live in a major city – here in small town PA, I live within 5 minutes of two beer distributors that carry any number of good microbrews.

  25. sixsevenco says:

    To anyone that loves, or even likes beer, I recommend that you seek out and watch the documentary “Beer Wars”. It’s available on netflix streaming. After watching this, I am going to proactively try to not buy Anheuser-Busch products. (which as the documentary points out will be hard to do.) I’m especially ticked at the lawsuit AB filed against Dogfish Head.

    • The Cynical Librarian says:

      I second that recommendation. Beer Wars is awesome.

    • Don't_rip_me_off_bro says:

      I am a homebrewer and I agree.

    • doobiewondersmoke says:

      Love Beer Wars and already thought the big 3 were evil, now I know they are. It’s actually not too difficult to avoid AB and Miller/Coors. A lot of grocery stores and convenience stores sell New Belgium and most sell Sam Adams. Two brands that aren’t attached to the evil empire. Honestly, I won’t buy from them and have literally walked out of a store and gone elsewhere. I haven’t paid for a single Bud/Miller/Coors product in over 4 years. Of course I live in the PNW so it’s a bit easier to find the good stuff.

    • jaredwilliams says:

      Yes I recommended it to some guy who started spewing numbers on marketing but had no idea about the beer industry in general.

      Beer Wars is awesome. I just wish Stella Artois wasn’t bought out by INBEV. It’s such great beer.

      There is always Peroni :)

  26. Rachacha says:

    “They’re in trouble because they don’t know how to talk to consumers,”

    Simple
    Bring Back the Frogs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkavReH4LE0

  27. smashedpotats says:

    Even if “awarded” a free Budweiser, I would not drink it.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I have my standards, but free beer will usual trump those.

      • JRock says:

        I agree – I really doubt that everybody on here who says they wouldn’t even drink it for free would turn down a cold Budweiser if one was handed to them (and there was no alternative).

        It’s far from my favorite beer but I’m not such a snob that I’d turn away free beer :)

  28. tjthayer says:

    Everyone once in a while when I’m feeling especially poor – we’ll call that “Fridays” – I enter the beer store thinking that I’ll pick up something “cheap”, like Bud, and save some money.

    But, then I see that a case of Sam Adams is about $3 more than a case of Bud (bottles), and I quickly convince myself that I’ll just skip a single Startbucks to justify the (slightly) higher cost for the pretty-damn-good beer.

    A-B needs to significantly drop the price if they want a chance at survival.

  29. Dragon Tiger says:

    There’s also the fact that A-B also pretty much crippled American craft brewers a few years back by contracting with many of the North American hops growers for their “craft beer” Michelob line. Many small breweries had to change recipes for existing beers or forgo some seasonal brews because of this, until more growers met the demand. Many of us who drink craft beers still remember this and avoid A-B product on those occasions when we still have to drink crap beer. Total douche move on the part of A-B. (Sam Adams, on the other hand, was selling what they could spare, at cost, to smaller breweries to help them out).

  30. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Piling on with everyone else. I “learned” how to drink beer in the mid *cough* to late 70′s at a bar in DC called the Brickskeller. Over 500 (not a typo) beers on the menu back then. Probably evenly split between domestic and imports and I went through at least 250 over the years.

    I have been exposed to the finest beers in the world (and the occasional Old Frothingslosh, “The pale, stale ale with the foam on the bottom”, a real beer mostly for can collectors). To this day I will abstain from drinking if my only choices are the Bud, Schlitz and Millers of this world.

  31. Kid Notorious says:

    Budweiser truly is toilet water and I couldn’t be further from a beer snob.

    Knock PBR for being hipster cache, but its the best all-day drinking beer out there IMO.

    • kriswone says:

      PBR tastes like Poop Butt Rank, Hipsters drink it cause it’s ironic (several meanings there), you drink it cause you mouth is missing taste buds.

    • kriswone says:

      Remind me what PBR stands for? Is it POOP BUTT RANK? ’cause that’s what it smell and tastes like. When I think of PBR I think of a snooki-knock-off after a night of trying to give guys pink eye. Horrible.

  32. kriswone says:

    InBev only makes one beer that I am willing to purchase, have always enjoyed and always try to get if it is available, even if it costs more:

    Rolling Rock

    Rolling Rock beats Budweiser every time in taste, style, drinkability, and the morning after.

  33. davidsco says:

    People, (Budweiser) Here’s a clue, since you obviously have NONE. YOUR BEER STINKS! It’s is the WORST beer on the market. It tastes like urinated selzer water. WHY don’t you try putting ALL that money you clowns feel you HAVE to pour into marketing and advertising into RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT! Spend the money on a QUALITY PRODUCT, and it sells itself. Gee, do you think there’s a person on the planet that doesn’t know Budweiser sells beer??? You follow the SAME stupid ineffective path GM follows. Try not TELLING us how good your beer is, when we all KNOW it’s not, and try making A GOOD BEER! God I hate morons.

  34. davidsco says:

    And the “brand consultant” is another word for overpaid moron. Got himself a marketing degree from some 2nd tier college, created a name for himself. Couldn’t sell water to a fish. Ever notice how the products that advertise the most, are usually the worst? (GM, FORD, CHRYSLER, BUDWEISER, MILLER, COMCAST, VERIZON etc…)

  35. Mr.Grieves says:

    Down with the large conglomerates!

    The beer markets used to be composed entirely of small craft brewers however when the depression hit only the one’s that merged to form these super mass brewries survived. And over time they destroyed everyone’s appreciation of what makes a good beer with their watered down, cheap, formulas.

    • Mr.Grieves says:

      The big shots in the business care more about image than their product. In almost all their ads they sell cool or sex, instead of advertising the quality of their product.

  36. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I don’t know what this means, so just take it at face value…

    …for the past *many* years, the only people I’ve seen drinking regular Bud are Mexicans. I think plenty of people drink Bud Light, and obviously all the other A-B brands.

    …but for whatever reason, I never see anyone buy regular Bud but the Mexicans. Who you would think would have better taste in beer, frankly…if you offered me a Bohemia, Negra Modelo, or Corona…or a Bud…all I have to say is “gracias, amigo.”

  37. Trollez says:

    I know I am late to the party but I felt the need to chime in. Having worked in liquor stores for many many years as a part time job Bud did itself 2 disfavors and it isn’t because of the product. 1) selling out to Inbev and 2) raising their prices. The core audience of Bud drinkers in Mass are closer to the line of what I consider NASCAR fans. They drink it more for the name. When they raised the prices to over 6/7 bucks a six pack, those drinkers immediately switched to Busch or lesser priced brands. Even though they are made by the same maker, the core demographic drinkers here couldn’t justify paying more than a buck a beer. I admit to drinking Bud Light. But you could drop the price to nothing and I still wouldn’t serve or buy regular Bud at a party. No Bud Light fan is going to buy Bud. No Mich Utlra girl is going to buy Michelob.

  38. kamiikoneko says:

    But one brand consultant tells USA Today he’s not terribly impressed. “They’re in trouble because they don’t know how to talk to consumers,” he says. “They no longer know how to create an emotional bond.”

    —-

    No. They’re in trouble because their product tastes like shit and is surrounded by superior competitors.

  39. Zydia says:

    Is Bud ignoring the obvious, that here’s more easily available beer options now, at better quality and similar price? Marketing isn’t the answer to everything, they need to make some real changes.

  40. parrotuya says:

    A beer with not taste and sales are down? I wonder why?

    DOWn, baby, DOWn!

  41. doobiewondersmoke says:

    Bud, Coors, & Miller are all down. People can get really great beer anywhere these days and it’s not tied to the big 3. Folks actually like the taste of beer and the various styles that are produced. The only thing keeping these goons afloat are frat boys and toothless rednecks. Hopefully some day soon we will see these companies die a horrible death.

    BTW, the beer lobby is bigger than tobacco and gun lobbies. If you haven’t seen “Beer Wars” you should.

  42. midwestkel says:

    The last time they did this was when they had aluminum bottles. They had hot ladies giving them out at the bar I was at.

  43. MrEvil says:

    Actually, some of the money might have gone to Mexico. Depends on if its a 1500 or Ram Heavy Duty. I know the HD Rams are all built in Saltillo Mexico.

  44. J-Sap says:

    I wonder why people don’t drink Bud anymore, maybe it’s because:

    1. There are so many other great beers out there (especially from Micro Brews)

    2. They are no longer an all American company

  45. montusama says:

    I’ve had Bud, even when I was underage I didn’t drink it that much. I prefer better quality beers. Though since AB owns Boddingtons, give me free Boddingtons please!

  46. jaredwilliams says:

    I wonder why they think that it’s because people don’t remember what it tastes like…it’s actually because they REMEMBER what they taste like and it’s disgusting. It’s not because they don’t know “how to talk to consumer or create an emotional bond”…How could that guy even have that job as a brand consultant? It’s probably because their beer sucks. I love beer, I brew beer and I like small micro breweries and craft beers because they aren’t piss water.