Is BUDWEISER Dropping Clydesdale Horses From Marketing For Good?

by on November 25, 2014

in consumer

Is It Time To Bail on BUDWEISER? Maybe so!

It seems that the owner of Budweiser is looking to revamp their marketing campaign and replace the iconic horses of old, the Budweiser Clydesdales.

In a bid to pick up sales, the Belgian-Brazilian owned company is looking to start to appeal to a younger generation that has more money to spend and a willingness to drink more than the older skewing demographics of society.

This new ad campaign will aim at the 20-somethings, and will feature young drinkers answering the question: “If you could grab a bud with any of your friends these holidays, who would it be?

This first campaign will lead up to a two-day concert with Jay-Z.

It seems that over the last 25 years Budweiser sales have been slowly slipping down the charts, where as in 1988 they had sold around 50 million barrels of beer and in 2013, only 16M barrels had contributed to various states of social drunkenness.

In surveys that Anheuser-Busch InBev had conducted, apparently 44% of consumers between the ages of 21 and 27 have never even tried getting drunk with a Bud.

So this means what? That the horses that have been associated with the brand since 1933 are gone? I hope not permanently, but for now, it seems the Belgian-Brazilian holder of Budweiser thinks it is time to retire the associative image and try to nab the young folks.

Does anyone remember when Jack-In-The-Box blew up the clown ordering boxes as they decided to try a new approach to their marketing? And what happened there? Oh yes, Jack not only came, he came back with a vengeance. (As the revitalized Jack ad campaigns made clear.) I can only hope the same is done with the Bud horses.  Don’t retire them permanently. Just do not throw away a company icon that’s been around for almost 100 years.

DO you remember the frogs? They were hilarious and cool. But concerned citizens thought they were too cute and decided to sue so that their beer-drinking children would not be persuaded to down a tankard. Or something like that.

When the Belgian-Brazilian beer company InBev bought Budweiser, back in 2008, a few things hit my brain.

First up, what happen to have Anheuser-Busch sell? Something has to be afoul or they would not have.  The second thought that came up was now that a new “sheriff” is in town, what will they do to change things up?  We started seeing fewer bikini clad models in the ads. Or at least that seems what started to evolve in their ads. But that is only my perception.

I’m guessing this is not truly a surprise, and being that I’ve been a lifelong Budweiser consumer, do I want to take a drastic measure and stop buying Budweiser? The horses are iconic and have been with Bud (Along with the bikini-clad models, and frogs) for quite some time.

I’m miffed they would drop the horses altogether. Last year’s Super Bowl ad campaign had a cute ad where the guy sells his horse then they meet several years later. (Hey pal, should not have sold him, ya think?)

But it is what it is. I guess I’ll see what other beer I’d like to partake in and speak my consumer’s mind about their change with my wallet. Is anyone else with me on this? Or am I overreacting to an icon change for a product I support?

UPDATE 11-25-14:

Anheuser-Busch InBex responded to the public’s concern for the cutting of the horses from their advertising campaign. When I first heard they made a statement, I became excited that they addressed it. But then I saw the statement and I’m still concerned. Despite words saying they horses are not going away, the announcement did not flower with any kind of reassurances aside from a very, very concise statement to the issue.

“The story this morning may have left a wrong impression – the Budweiser Clydesdales will, in fact, be featured in next year’s Super Bowl advertising and are also a part of upcoming holiday responsible drinking advertising.

The Clydesdales play a strong role for the brand, representing Budweiser quality and care for more than 80 years. As icons of the brand—and relevant symbols of integrity, perfection and team spirit for all generations—they are important to the brand and our campaigns.”

Here’s my paranoid spin on the ABI press release:

They don’t want to lose present clientele by dumping the horses outright. Instead they say they will be included in the next two seasonal advertising pushes. And nothing beyond that. (If you can call football a seasonal push).

Well, like I said earlier, we can hope.

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