Drink Magazine

Tapping into New-Age Beer Marketing: Beer and Social Media (part 2)

By Bryan Roth @bryandroth

beer-social media

Even though Big Beer may not hit home runs with the taste of their brews, they sure do try to move product.

While fancy looking packaging can take them so far, making lasting connections with consumers is important – because taste certainly isn’t doing it. The argument could be made that at a time when craft beer is booming and somewhat desperate marketing choices are made, social media is more important than ever for AB InBev, SABMiller and the like.

In the first post of this series, I pointed out some efforts Big Beer has made in an attempt to wrangle the attention and money of young people (read: prime craft beer drinkers) through social media. Typically, Big Beer has gone a similar route as they have on TV – just spend lots of money putting product in front of people and hope for the best.

So how might Big Beer stack up on social engagement? I took to Facebook and Twitter to audit the good and the bad of some recent efforts…


Budweiser is big on fan-submitted photos on Facebook. This feeds the social media beast in two ways: first, it offers Budweiser content to use and second, it offers fans a chance to see their effort “pay off.”

Why is this good?
Using a “people strategy” has been proven to be: “much broader, deeper and more profound than consumer targeting. It involves listening to and engaging with everyone who can touch or influence current and potential customers at all stages of brand interaction.” Simply put: people feel more worthwhile when they see their efforts shared.

Why is this bad?
A majority of images posted on Budweiser’s page – both fan-submitted and taken by their photographers – are just lots of white 20-somethings. I understand why this happens – Bud needs the youth market and 20-somethings are all over Facebook. But different ages and backgrounds wouldn’t hurt once in a while.

Dos Equis

I’m very curious about Dos Equis, which has seen a rise in sales, according to the most recent stats I could find. The brand holds a market share of .6 percent in the U.S. Like their TV advertising, their entire marketing strategy on Facebook is based around the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” which has a cult following via TV.

So … why focus on the man instead of the beer?

“Sophomoric humor has long been a category staple, and the majority of our competitor’s advertising was insulting our consumer’s intelligence. There was, and continues to be an opportunity for Dos Equis to stand out in the crowd by acknowledging and harnessing our consumer’s thirst for intelligent humor,” said Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA

Make ‘em laugh! Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?

Miller Lite

On the Miller Lite Facebook page, they spent most of May and early June promoting their sponsorship of The Internship, a movie staring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and not great tasting beer. They even have their own “Interns” who have traveled the country to learn about things like how Miller Lite’s “triple hop brewing” is different (it’s not) and about the beer making process (“We’re going to add the hops and extract the magic from the hops.”). Informative!

Big Beer and Twitter

I would say something about the Twitter feeds of these brands, except they’re all the same. They use their platform as a microphone to broadcast their quips or news and rarely, if ever, retweet or engage with followers. Any action like that typically comes in the form of interacting with corporate partners like a sports team, athlete or celebrity.

The Elephant in the Room – Social Video

This is where having a large budget helps. Despite poor strategy, people obviously still flock to “like” or “follow” the social media efforts of these breweries. While video content across the board is typically constrained to reposting TV ads online, that still attracts viewers.

The pack is led by Budweiser, whose “Brotherhood” Super Bowl ad about a trainer and his Clysdale accounted for more than half of alcohol-company video shares in the first quarter of 2013. Other companies on the list include: Carlsberg, Heneiken, Bud Light Platinum, Amstel and Guinness.

There is little or no original content on the YouTube pages for Budweiser or Miller Lite. Miller does have a series of three videos titled “Plastic Cup Boyz Chronicles,” which I suppose could be somewhat racist if you want to focus on the “z” in boys, the fact it’s only black males and they apparently only drink from plastic cups? It’s also narrated by Kevin Hart (it’s about his “crew”) but he never actually appears in the videos.

What does all this mean?

It’s obvious these companies are trying. If you want to measure success by “likes” or “followers,” then they’re doing just fine. But ultimately, the goal is to move product. That’s what I pointed out in part one of this series.

That means that the real goal of social media engagement is to create a relationship with the consumer. Honestly, I don’t know if there are beer companies better at that than the “small guys.”

More on that on Friday…

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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