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Budweiser’s ‘America’ Beer Campaign Fails Miserably

Budweiser has the most patriotic advertising campaign of any other non-public (government) entity. That is undeniable. However, in a brave new world of quality beer, are advertising niches or gimmicks enough to sell traditional domestic beer?


Every summer, Budweiser switches up the label of its flagship beer to reflect patriotic imagery like the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. This year, it upped the ante by rebranding the beer itself, changing the brew’s name to “America.”

From a marketing perspective, the campaign looked headed for a resounding success: YouGov BrandIndex measured consumer word of mouth, ad awareness, and purchase consideration around the time of the campaign’s debut and found that all three metrics rose.

But since then, the early fizz has gone flat. In a new poll of 16,000 adults 21 and older, YouGov found that ad awareness peaked on June 1 but had fallen by five percentage points by early July. Purchase consideration — that is, whether someone would consider Budweiser (er, America) the next time they bought beer — peaked at 16% on June 1, which was even higher than around the time of the Super Bowl. Since then, though, it’s dropped to 11%, which YouGov noted is the year’s low.

“Budweiser has so far been unable to sustain its initial consumer perception bump,” the company said in a statement.

Time suspects it’s because Budweiser is no longer owned by an American company. Perhaps. Maybe it’s getting harder and harder to pitch old domestic beers to the modern flavor awakened palette.

It’s just going to take more than clever marketing or packaging to sell beer now. Actually, you can’t sell anything that way anymore. Americans aren’t exactly as brand loyal as they used to be, and they are less-likely to ‘trade down’ in quality even in cases of economic turmoil.

In other words, Americans are looking for quality more and more over brand loyalty. When they find it, they don’t let it go.

If you have a clever package, or advertising campaign, we will give you a shot. If you don’t knock it out of the park, however, we bounce.

The ‘America’ campaign seems to have fallen victim to the very thing powering the beer industry right now … discerning tastes. Bud is Bud, and we all know it. We love the company, in spirit, and want to support it. Ultimately, their appeal to patriotism and advocacy for causes we support will get us to buy a few Budweisers. It won’t turn us into loyal repeat customers.


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