Anheuser-Busch, brewer of the once-popular Budweiser brand, is handing out free samples of Bud in an effort to help revamp the brand's "aleing" image. Brand Bud has suffered from lagging sales due to low-calorie light beers, flavored-beer products, and micro-brews that are popular among those who fall in the under-30 demographic.
According to an article in USA Today, sales were down nine percent in 2009, and this year's sales are no better. In a brand-awareness study, Budweiser dropped from No. 16 to No. 220 nationally in 2010.
To revive the brand, Anheuser-Busch announced they would hand out 500,000 samples of Budweiser between now and mid-October. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Anheuser-Busch launches their "Budweiser National Happy Hour," a free beer giveaway meant to entice these younger drinkers to sample brand Bud in either six ounces or 12 ounces. They also are using Facebook to garner trial by offering free Budweisers to fans on their 22nd birthday. .
A new ad campaign has been launched and revolves around a simple slogan, “Grab some Buds.” While the beer giant reaches out to the younger demos, the beer market has evolved dramatically since Bud enjoyed time in the spotlight; hundreds of choices are available to drinkers today, and unless Budweiser offers some sort of unique difference to beer drinkers (lower prices or fewer carbs), the free giveaway doesn't have much chance of success.
Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock believes that Budweiser can rekindle connections with consumers, a tall order when connections don't exist.
While the image problem is obvious, an unforeseen problem with National Happy Hour may make the giveaway a non-issue. In many markets, local and state laws regulate how people sample free alcohol. In Illinois and Indiana, for instance, free giveaways are illegal, and even advertising for free alcohol is restricted. This creates an awareness crisis in many locales because Bud can't provide information on locations that offer the free brew.
This Bud's for you, if you can find it.