"I loved the ad because it's a great strategy. But I also loved the ad because it makes me draw parallels with coffee and fear that the same alienating culture is true about the coffee industry."
During the Super Bowl, Budweiser put their marketing prowess on display by issuing a "Brewed The Hard Way" advertisement. Proudly boasting about being a macro brewer, Budweiser in no uncertain terms, mocked craft beer enthusiasts—of which I am one—and to no one’s surprise, earned the collective and condescending knee-jerk from many craft beer professionals and drinkers everywhere.
Here's the ad:
And here are a few of the reactions:
“...[I]t’s obvious Budweiser feels backed into a corner — the company seems desperate, defensive and unable to apply rational thought to its marketing. There is so much disconnect between that commercial and reality.” - The Dallas Morning News
“...[M]icrobreweries are fighting back, stoking a new mutiny against the King of Beers in their long-running feud for American brews.” - The Washington Post
For the record, I do not like Budweiser beer. I avidly drink craft beer, but even so, I loved the Budweiser spot. Thought it was genius because the message soundly resonated with their core audience.
Argue as you might, there is an element of the craft beer culture that sometimes behaves like elitists. And you can bet that while watching that Super Bowl ad, every single Budweiser fan undoubtedly looked at their buds, smirked and made the sort of comment that you’d expect about how craft beer drinkers are obnoxious elitists or hipster douchebags.
Truthfully, Budweiser is the furthest thing from out of touch with the consumer. They are fully aware of how the craft beer industry feels about them, and they played perfectly to that sentiment during the Super Bowl. Nay-sayers be damned, Budweiser ran the ad and in doing so, got their brand’s name on the lips of millions (if not tens of millions) of people. The exclamation point--the moment they galvanized their current base--was in the bloody aftermath when the same people mocked in the ad took to the internet to wage war.
The craft beer advocates reacted negatively with snide remarks and dumbfounded looks as they issued their public condemnation of "Budweiser, The King of Shit". And by reacting as negatively as, I believe, Budweiser anticipated, craft beer drinkers lost out on a great opportunity to bring more drinkers over to craft beer. Instead those Bud fans now have proof that the ad was right--that craft beer people sometimes sound like a group of intellectually superior elitists. That's why I loved the ad. I loved it because it's a great strategy. But I also loved the ad because it makes me draw parallels with coffee and fear that the same alienating culture is true about the coffee industry.
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