- Bud Light created a digital tracker to help consumers find local bars and restaurants that remain open for takeout orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- Bud Light: Open for Takeout lives on a web page where bars and restaurants across the U.S. can submit their businesses for listings that go live on Friday. The brewer is promoting the initiative through an #OpenForTakeout hashtag, and will divert some of its media spending to raise consumer awareness.
- The push to support bar and restaurant workers follows parent company Anheuser-Busch's Wednesday announcement that it will redirect spending allocated for sports and entertainment to nonprofits working to combat the pandemic.
Bud Light is looking to provide a useful tool for the millions of consumers who are sheltering in place during the global crisis, while also supporting the bars and restaurants that help to drive the brand's sales and awareness.
The restaurant category has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus as dine-in locations shutter and people stay inside. Subsequently, Bud Light is experiencing a slide in on-premise consumption, which makes up a significant chunk of its business.
Bud Light is positioning the #OpenForTakeout effort as a cause-driven way to support service workers and owners at risk during a deeply uncertain time that's already seen many restaurants enact layoffs or close up shop.
"Now, more than ever, we need to serve those who serve us," the tracker website reads. "It's time to support every employee across America whose job depends on the success and survival of bars and restaurants."
Anheuser-Busch InBev recently described how the coronavirus upset operations in China. On a call discussing Q4 earnings in late February, CEO Carlos Brito reported a "significant decline" in demand in on-premise channels in the country first hit by the outbreak, as nightlife virtually disappeared and fewer people dined out.
As more U.S. regions shut down non-essential businesses, the brewer is likely aiming to take a more proactive strategy that can position brands like Bud Light as purposeful during a crisis. People might remember the work that Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch do now after the pandemic subsides, helping to build long-term brand equity.
Other marketers in categories like automotive are similarly redirecting their media spending and switching up creative strategy to spotlight coronavirus relief programs. The trend comes as some of the biggest advertising venues for these brands, including live sports, have been postponed or canceled to prevent the spread of the virus.
Anheuser-Busch earlier this week also started diverting some of its resources to produce hand sanitizer that it will donate to the Red Cross.