Bud Light chooses 2 new creative agencies as its marketing strategy changes

Diving Brief:

  • Bud Light chose Anomaly as the creative agency for its core Bud Light Blue business and The Martin Agency to manage its extended family of brands, including Hard Seltzer, according to details shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
  • The Anheuser-Busch InBev label first put its account under scrutiny in June after working with Wieden + Kennedy since 2015. Wieden + Kennedy, which is independent, declined to participate in the process but still works with other brands under the AB InBev umbrella, including Michelob Ultra.
  • Bud Light’s change of agency comes as the light beer celebrates its 40th anniversary and follows the relaunch of a longstanding partnership with the NFL. Bud Light also continues to invest in more nascent media like esports that might require different creative thinking.

Overview of the dive:

Big creative changes are underway at Bud Light as the distributor adapts to changing consumer tastes and an altered media landscape. The search for a new agency by the AB InBev brand has been closely watched since the start of the review in early summer, with incumbent Wieden + Kennedy dropping a bid to keep the business.

A shake-up comes as Bud Light celebrates a landmark anniversary and seeks to bolster its stake in emerging channels, such as gaming and esports. AB InBev has also taken actions that could impact Bud Light’s marketing strategy. In June, the brewing giant has given up exclusivity on alcohol advertising around the Super Bowl, a position he held for more than three decades. The distributor will continue to run ads around the big game and remains the official beer and hard seltzer sponsor of the NFL.

Rather than choosing one partner to drive the vision for its entire portfolio, Bud Light divides the work between its core light beer and a broader line of products. Anomaly is owned by Stagwell while The Martin Agency is part of Interpublic Group of Companies. The dual agency approach speaks to the growing importance of non-beer offerings and also suggests that these bets could benefit from their own specialized strategy. Bud Light Seltzer is the #3 seltzer in the industry.

AB InBev has increased its focus on its Beyond Beer initiative as consumers turn to alternatives such as seltzer water and ready-to-drink cocktails. The company appointed in April Marcel Marcondes, a key member of the Beyond Beer unitas global CMO.

Other AB InBev strengths include better-for-you beers, with Michelob Ultra being one of the brewer’s fastest growing products. Bud Light Next, a carb-free beer introduced earlier this year with a taste that has been compared to Seltzeris aimed at consumers in their twenties and is positioned around concepts like the metaverse.

The news marks a changing of the guard for Bud Light. Wieden + Kennedy designed some of the brand’s most iconic campaigns, such as a series of medieval-themed advertisements centered around the absurd phrase “Dilly Dilly”. The tagline took on a life of its own as a viral meme and eventually featured a “Game of Thrones” tie-in at the height of the HBO show’s popularity. But smart marketing did little to compensate for falling sales amid a broader decline for the beer category.

Bud Light is still the top-selling beer in the United States, with a 12.69% share of the category, according to IRI data. The brand continued to work closely with the NFL, but also expanded its reach in sports marketing.

In June, he signed as a sponsor with boxing promoter Top Rank. At the same time, Bud Light has reached out to less traditional fans like gamers, with a dedicated Twitch channel and support for competitive events around titles such as “League of Legends”, “Overwatch” and the NBA 2K franchise. .

William L. Hart