Beer brands Busch and Keystone Light launched rival campaigns this week aimed at people who are itching to get outside as the weather gets warmer, the summer travel season begins and more Americans become vaccinated. Each brand is running an online sweepstakes to give five winners $10,000 in cash to spend on summer activities, though the themes of the campaigns differ.
AB InBev's Busch is asking social media users to describe the family tradition they have missed the most for a chance to win cash toward planning "the ultimate family reunion," per information shared with Marketing Dive. People who follow Busch on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can enter the sweepstakes by tagging their posts with the #BuschReunionContest hashtag by May 19.
Molson Coors' Keystone Light is also hinting at a return to pre-pandemic messaging, although with a slightly approach, and is offering customers a chance to win cash to spend on a dream vacation this summer. People can enter its 'Stonecation sweepstakes by scanning a receipt showing their purchase of a 12-pack of the beer and uploading it to KeystoneLightSummer.com, or by using a smartphone camera to scan a QR code on store signage by July 10, per an announcement.
Busch and Keystone Light's sweepstakes are another sign that beer brands are returning to themes that were hallmarks of their marketing before the pandemic, such as bringing people together for celebrations and enjoying the outdoors with a summer vacation. Amid pandemic lockdowns, beer marketers tended to emphasize virtual get-togethers and more intimate celebrations at home as consumers shifted their spending on beer to retail stores and e-commerce sites. The pandemic remains a significant health threat as vaccinations stall, but more regions are lifting restrictions on restaurants, bars and sports stadiums. The percentage of bars and restaurants that are open grew to 92% by late March from 16% in early May last year, according to analytics firm BeerBoard. The reopening of public venues that serve beer is likely to drive another shift in consumption habits.
Busch's family reunion contest aims to engage consumers on social media while raising awareness for the brand. As people share their experiences of the family traditions they have missed the most during the pandemic, Busch can extend the reach of the campaign organically. The sweepstakes are consistent with other recent campaigns that show a renewed interest in experiential marketing. In March, Busch started a social media sweepstakes that offered three couples a chance to win outdoor weddings that allowed for social distancing, emphasizing events that bring people together to celebrate over beers. These campaigns are part of AB InBev's broader effort to create culturally relevant experiences to support sales amid changing consumer tastes.
Keystone Light's campaign is notable for urging people to share more information about their purchasing habits and to respond to its in-store offer by scanning a QR code to enter the sweepstakes. Gathering first-party data has become a bigger priority for consumer brands that derive most of their sales from retailers, which have more control over the data about shoppers. The data help identify the most loyal customers and provide insights that brands can use for the targeting of future campaigns. First-party consumer data have become more valuable for marketers as consumers grow more concerned about privacy and technology companies like Google and Apple respond by implementing policies that limit the tracking of online audiences.