Bud Light is a light beer created by Anheuser-Busch Inbev (ABI) in 1982. Bud light is targeted towards millennial consumers, in the 21-27-age range. Budweiser (including Bud Light), a subsidiary of ABI, is at the top of the market, bringing in $10.2 billion in sales, as well as having a brand value of $22.3 billion as of May 2015 (Forbes). Advertising is very important to ABI and Bud Light specifically due to the new beer market. Smaller beer companies, along with the consumers’ taste shifting to micro brews threaten to take away the dominance ABI has in the market. Bud Light, the most notable Budweiser product stays at the top of sales, mainly due to their advertising budget of over $330 million a year (adbrands). Bud Light has a long list of social media campaigns used to advertise their beer. The more recent campaigns used include “TommrowWorld” and “UpforWhatever.” The campaign UpforWhatever took a turn for the worse when they used the slogan “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” This received harsh criticism due to the nature of the “no means no” sexual consent current event.
Bud Light’s most recent campaign is focused on the National Football League (NFL) with the hashtag “MyTeamCan.” This campaign will be the focus of this case study. Bud Light’s MyTeamCan campaign is partnered up with the NFL, putting 28 different designs for each of the NFL teams. Cans with specific team designs will only be distributed to the cities of the teams. For example, Seattle would only be able to get Seahawks designed Bud Light Cans. As with most sports, fans love anything that has to do with their team. Putting the design of their local football team onto the beer can, and creating a hashtag for them to share it on social media is a great way to advertise.
As Bud Light is already the most sold and well-known beer in its class, the main goal of the MyTeamCan campaign is to maintain their reign at the top. For this campaign, Bud Light focuses mainly on using the social community zone, and also uses elements from the social publishing zone. For social community zone, the main channel Bud Light uses is Twitter, but also posts on Facebook. Bud Light uses YouTube from the social publishing zone to post the commercials they air on cable television.
Bud Light’s main strength is their buying power. They have an advertising budget second to none. With this, they are able to air as many commercials as they see fit. More importantly, Bud Light has the funds to make a deal with the National Football League. According to NBC Sports, Bud Light has become a sponsor of the NFL for $1.4 billion. The reason this is so important is because people who watch football fit into the same demographic Bud Light wants to target. Professional football has been America’s favorite past time for the past three decades, creating excellent exposure for Bud Light. Bud Light’s MyTeamCan campaign has two main weaknesses. First, Bud Light, being the most popular beer, obtains the “Goliath” effect. Due to its infamy, there will always be people who will want to “troll” big, successful businesses. Secondly, while the MyTeamCan campaign is well thought out, one issue arises that also ties into their first weakness. The Bears, Packers, Cowboys and Vikings are not included in this campaign. This not only singles out four markets (one of which is the most profitable team in the NFL), but also gives ammo to trolls and upset fans, which can hinder a successful campaign. The biggest opportunity Bud Light has is the incorporation of their campaign with the NFL. The main threat Bud Light faces is the quality of beer consumers prefer. While this threat is comparatively small, there has been a trend for better quality beer than what Bud Light provides. MyTeamCan is completely dependent on the NFL; the campaign should last only until the NFL season is over. It is unclear if the campaign will go into the post-season, but it would make sense if the final MyTeamCan post pertained to the two team in the super bowl.
The strategy for this campaign seems straightforward. The bulk of the work is done through the design of the Bud Light cans. Bud Light promotes the can designs through specific games in the season, and by interacting with Bud Light and NFL fans via various social media channels. The start of the MyTeamCan social media campaign began with exposure via television commercials. As of recently, there have been arguments saying that the fall of cable television is near. One of the main staples keeping cable television relevant is a live sports event. For example, Bud Light airs MyTeamCan commercials during Sunday Night Football. The game between the Packers and Broncos aired on November 2nd garnered 23 million viewers. Thursday Night Football games pulls in at least 5 million per week. Bud Light uses the popularity of NFL games to air commercials where not only their key demographic is watching, but allowing the potential of millions of interactions. Bud Light uses an array of video content for their television commercials and social media. With the MyTeamCan campaign, the bulk of videos are of the specially designed NFL Bud Light cans, all of the being showcased or two cans “battling” based on the game being shown.
Bud Light’s MyTeamCan campaign focuses mainly on Twitter. Based on the NFL schedule, Budlight posts mostly on Thursdays and Sundays, correlating with the NFL schedule. Based on the data collected from their Twitter account, most of the activity for the campaign is done on Thursdays, for Thursday Night Football. When a football game is on, Bud Light replies to hundreds of people. Bud Light usually replies with a gif of a person pulling out a can of beer with the NFL team logo related to the tweet. The interesting part about this is that Bud Light’s social media team also replies to people who tweet about the football game, not just to people who tweet about Bud Light or people who use MyTeamCan hashtag.
There are instances of famous people tweeting their own pictures with the use of the MyTeamCan hashtag.
Bud Light retweeting this image adds validation and popularity to their campaign, all while costing nothing extra on their part. Secondly, Snoop Dogg has 12.9 millions followers. While Snoop Dogg did not use the hashtag associated with the campaign, it still potentially exposes many who may not have been exposed to the social media campaign. Aside from the videos of their NFL designed cans, Bud Light also posted a video of a son taking his father to a football game. The trip was paid for by Bud Light, and came in a three part series, with two videos recapping the story and the other a more detailed, longer video.
The son in the video is the demographic Bud Light is aiming towards, and the video wants to connect football, nostalgia, and beer all together.
Bud Light also has a Twitter feed on their website specifically geared towards tweets regarding the MyTeamCan campaign.
Their use of Facebook has similar tactics to Twitter when it comes to posting and replying. The only difference is for Facebook posts, Bud Light’s social media team focuses only on Thursday Night Football games. The amount of replies is also much less than that of Twitter, most likely due to the nature of how the channels differ in usability.
Bud Light has also dabbled in Instagram. While the other channels’ posting for the campaign started when the football season started, the posts on Instagram started about a month later. The posts on Instagram are original, and are not re-posted to any other channel. Since Instagram is an image-based format, the picture quality and creativity is higher than on other channels.
While there are only a few MyTeamCan posts submitted by Bud Light on Instagram, they receive a lot of attention from users of Instagram. There is also hundreds of user submitted content with the MyTeamCan hashtag.
The last channel Bud Light’s social media team uses for the MyTeamCan campaign is YouTube. As the football season started, Bud Light created 28 separate videos showcasing each team’s unique design.
These videos were uploaded only to YouTube, and were not posted on any other channel by Bud Light. The only way these videos reached other channels is by the social media community sharing them. The other videos posted to Bud Light’s YouTube channel regarding the MyTeamCan are the commercials they air on cable television. After the initial 28-team videos, Bud Light has only posted Thursday Night Football match up videos.
Coors Light and Miller Lite are Bud Light’s main competition. Neither of these two competitors has anything similar to the campaign Bud Light is conducting. Coors Light is rarely active on any channels of social media, let alone having content related to football. Miller Lite is Bud Light’s main competition when it comes to social media and connecting with users. Miller Lite does not seem to have an apparent social media campaign related to football.
More specifically, Miller Lite uses the broadly used “ItsMillerTime” for what football content they did post. Miller Lite also uses NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman as a spokesman. While Miller Lite has less posts involving football, their posts that do have more interactions in Twitter standards than Bud Light’s posts do. This could be in large part due to Miller Lite having almost 100,000 more followers than Bud Light. Although Miller Lite and Bud Light have the same demographic market, Miller Lite may be avoiding social media with football ball content because of Bud Light’s sponsorship with the NFL, creating a huge advantage for Bud Light.
Bud Light is not only the most purchased beer in its class in America, but the top selling beer overall. As mentioned before, the goals for Bud Light is different than other beer companies. While it is unsure for anyone outside of Bud Light what the goals specifically are or Bud Light and their MyTeamCan social media campaign is, there can be some educated guesses as to what they want to accomplish. As the top selling beer, with a partnership with the most popular sport in America, Bud Light’s goal is getting interaction on all social media channels, as well as creating conversations. The campaign started in August, but analysis was done in October. This will provide a good idea of how the campaign is doing after the initial excitement is gone. Below is a table showing favorites and retweets on Bud Light’s social media account involving the MyTeamCan hashtag in the month of October.
Without knowing Bud Light’s baseline, it is difficult to observe if this type of interaction is typical, over, or under what they expected. As the month went on, the amount of favorites and retweets steadily went down.
With all of the videos posted by Bud Light on YouTube regarding MyTeamCan, the total view count was 1,197,954. This spanned from August until the week of November 7th, 2015. This is a good amount of reaches, but their last social media campaign UpforWhatever eclipsed MyTeamCan’s view count with a total of approximately 62.5 millions views. Note that UpforWhatever’s campaign is done, while MyTeamCan is still in progress. Based on the amount of views per video for each campaign, MyTeamCan will have no way of catching up to that amount of views. These two campaigns are different in content, and it is unknown how much the budgets differ between the two.
There are a few issues with determining whether this social media campaign is a success. Not knowing Bud Light’s objectives makes it the hardest. There has been engagement with consumers, as well as a brand liking. Bud Light has been getting retweets and favorites on Twitter, as well as comments and shares on YouTube and Instagram. The type of comments Bud Light receives, on the different social media channels, there seems to be a more positive sentiment for the NFL designed Bud Light cans. Without having access to specific sale information like cases sold, date sold, and location sold, it is hard to tell if sales have increased because of this campaign. With that being said, the campaign is more or less a success. While it may not have as high of a reach as it might have wanted, it has still been a proper tool in advertising their limited edition cans, as well as creating a connection between them and their customers.
During the analysis of Bud Light’s social media campaign, AB Inbev acquired SAB Miller for $106 billion. SAB Miller produces Miller Lite, which is one of Bud Light’s strongest adversaries. In the future, it will be interesting to see how social media campaigns for both beers will be now that they are under the same company.
Tuten, Tracy L., and Michael R. Solomon. Social Media Marketing. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print.