- AB InBev is taking an unusual step of rebranding its signature Budweiser beer “America” from May 23 through the November presidential election.
- The new packaging will be part of a summer-long ad campaign called "America is in Your Hands," Adweek reports. The new design -- which was handled by Jones Knowles Ritchie -- will appear on the 12-ounce cans and bottles of its signature beverage.
- "We thought nothing was more iconic than Budweiser and nothing was more iconic than America," Tosh Hall, creative director at JKR, told Fast Co. Design.
AB InBev has been battling a changing beer marketplace that has seen the rise of craft beer and microbrews. It has previously met the new challenge with a campaign that defiantly declared Budweiser as a proud macro-brew, positioning the product as something distinctly different from craft beer.
In its latest move, with a complete rebranding of its 12-ounce product packaging, the brewer looks to capitalize on summer -- when about one-third of all U.S. beer sales take place -- and patriotism, as Americans head into the final stretch of election season. It's worth noting that the repackaging not only removes the name of the brew, but also iconic branding such as "The King of Beers" from bottles and cans. According to Adweek, the beer maker hopes the rebrand will encourage consumers to "embrace the optimism upon which the country was first built."
As The Atlantic points out, people do tend to respond well to specialty packaging, especially patriotic branding around sporting events. If beer drinkers are as excited about the Summer Olympics as consumers have been in past years, Budweiser's name-change gamble could really pay off.
"We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen, with Copa America Centenario being held on U.S. soil for the first time, Team USA competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games," Ricardo Marques, vp of Budweiser, said in a statement. "Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we're honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years."
As part of the campaign, the new packaging will be featured in a TV spot beginning on June 1.