… but fools will learn in no other, as the old saying has it – and ‘dear’ in this sense means ‘expensive’. From all reports concerning the marketing debacle over Bud Light beer, the marketing executive responsible, one Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid is about to learn one of those very dear lessons. When someone sits down to write a history of bad marketing decisions in modern times, this is going to be one of the more spectacular chapters. Amazing that someone so expensively educated in the marketing trade could fall so spectacularly flat-footed. Somewhere back in the mists of time, someone must have imparted the wisdom that alienating the old core market for your product before appealing to the new core market was a bad move. A very bad move.
Look, as far as I could tell, Bud Light isn’t a particularly awful beer – it is and was just barely OK, cheap and readily available. The old core market, which seems to be working-class males, drank it out of habit, more than anything else. I do give Ms Heinerscheid props for looking ahead and realizing that the appeal for Bud Light had to be widened, in the face of competition in the marketplace for better-tasting, local-artisan brands, that were just about as inexpensive. But nuking the brand in the eyes of the established core market by recruiting Dylan Mulvaney, famed for LARPing as a twelve-year old Audrey Hepburn wanna-be … look, social media influencers like Dylan Mulvaney undeniably attract the eyeballs and likes, and I suppose that eventually the dollars do follow … but Dylan Mulvaney and the beer favored by blue-collar males? Does she even know any blue-collar, working-class men?
Sigh. Probably not, which is why this endorsement dropped with the clangor of a man-hole cover hitting the pavement from two or three stories up.
You know what I would have done, were it my job as brand manager to have widened the market for Bud Light to appeal to women, and women of all ages? I’d have focused an ad campaign on authentic women, women with organic, original-issue grown-from-scratch lady-parts, emphasizing the outdoors, summertime, camping, or glamping with the girlfriends, sitting around the glowing campfire in the evenings. Having fun in beautiful, scenic, and wild spaces, all in the company of their best friends. Any spectacular national park would do. Attractive, happy women of all ages; fishing, hiking, mountain-biking, canoeing, making camp, watching cute wildlife and listening to happy birdsong … and enjoying a Bud Light. A good few years ago, I remember reading in a travel magazine, about a group of women in IIRC, the South-west, all friends who owned tiny vintage trailers and caravans. Most of the ladies featured had rehabbed, refitted, and adorned their trailers, * which were all the last word in cute. And they met every year at a campground, for a good time with their friends.
I’d start building an ad with a group like that, in my national ad campaign. It’s probably too late to rescue Bud Light, but I’ll throw it out for free to any brand manager who wants to build market appeal for beer among women; genuine, all-natural original lady-parts women.
*This isn’t the article I remembered, but close enough. Although actually, just from the general appearance and demeanor of the trailer owners featured, they all look as if they wouldn’t mind a beer or two with friends. I’d use younger, but still wholesome and attractive women for the ads themselves.