- Bud Light Seltzer is looking for its first CMO, but the acronym stands for "chief meme officer" rather than chief marketing officer. The line of hard seltzer marketed by Anheuser-Busch InBev will pay $5,000 a month to the winning candidate, who will be responsible for curating memes on the label's social media channels, per an announcement.
- CMO responsibilities include enjoying Bud Light Seltzer andd creating 10 memes a week to post online during a three-month stint with the brand's marketing team. Applicants must visit a microsite that asks for name, age, ZIP code, email address, digital portfolio, back story and social media handles on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Applicants also need to upload memes for review by the Bud Light team.
- The applicant site provides templates for people who aren't skilled with graphics software to create memes, which they can post to their social media accounts with the #ChiefMemeOfficer hashtag. Candidates must be 21 or older and have until Sept. 18 to submit an application. To provide more incentive to participate, the brand is offering applicants a chance to win three months of Bud Light Seltzer.
Bud Light aims to reach young adults with its sweepstakes seeking a "chief meme officer" for Bud Light Seltzer, the brand's entry into the booming hard seltzer market.
While candidates don't have to share memes as part of the application, the brand does provide templates for people to experiment with creating memes and posting them to social media. As entrants share those memes with friends and followers, Bud Light can extend the reach of its campaign among a wider audience of people who use Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
Opening up the paid position to everyday Bud Light fans shows the AB InBev brand trying to capture some of the word-of-mouth marketing that has made rivals in the hard seltzer space, like White Claw, immensely popular. White Claw did little paid promotion during the start of the hard seltzer boom last year — and at one point actually cut back on media spending — but still saw sales spike, as influencers and memes catapulted the label to the top of the conversation.
The creation of the chief meme officer position comes at a time when brands are increasingly looking to online memes to connect with young consumers. But while witty, relatable content is ripe for social sharing, success with the tactic takes more than repurposing trending topics to snag attention, and requires an intuitive and aesthetic understanding of online subcultures.
Bud Light Seltzer's campaign to find a job candidate is reminiscent of sweepstakes by Natural Light, the low-cost beer also marketed by AB InBev. For the past couple of years, Natural Light has run campaigns to find a summer intern among college-age consumers. Last year, the intern was tasked with performing brand ambassador duties at events, managing social media content, handling guerilla marketing and posting a weekly vlog of the brand's social media stories. This year, the coronavirus pandemic led Natural Light to change its summer intern sweepstakes to a work-from-home arrangement. Natural Light asked its intern to taste-test beers to help find the next "Natty flavor innovation," Adweek reported.
Bud Light's campaign for its hard seltzer brand comes as the category of alcoholic beverages sees a surge in sales among consumers looking for lower-calorie drinks. U.S. sales of hard seltzer surpassed $1 billion during the last three weeks of March, compared with $1.5 billion for all of 2019, according to Nielsen data cited by CNN.
That torrid growth has lured beer brands like Bud Light, Natural Light and Corona to extend into the category in the past year. Hard seltzer sales are forecast to grow 16% a year from 2020 to 2027 worldwide, per an estimate from Grand View Research cited by the Spirits Business. The growth likely will lead more brands to offer hard seltzers to offset slowing beer sales.