Coming back to the "Brewed the Hard Way" ad, it initially shook me, in a good way. It struck how well targeted it is. It's always hard taking a jab at a competitor, even more so when you are the monolithic industry leader in terms of sales. To look down on the underdog is risky business. But I think Budweiser and its agency (Anomaly) created and executed this ad with laser precision. They've gone with the angle of accepting the 'truth turd' and telling an authentic story of what it means to drink a Bud, and in the process are celebrating their current audience. They also simply state what's in the product, no nonsense. Just facts.
They're making their customers feel good to drink a Bud. There's an almost playful diss at the craft breweries, it's definitely not malicious - which is key. The music also adds an element of knowing and playfulness to what they're saying. The use of historic imagery also reinforces the 'brand love' to the consumers. (It's a shame they didn't de-interlace some of the stock footage though!)
As you can imagine, some blowhards complained about the ad and Budweiser released an official statement about the ad.
Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser
“Brewed the Hard Way” is Budweiser’s way of celebrating being a MACRO brew: a beer enjoyed by many. The prevailing discourse in beer is that small must be good, and big must be bad. We don’t accept that. Lager is one of the most difficult styles to brew well, and we have the highest standards of care to get it right. We are owning who we are without apology.
We’re delighted to have sparked a conversation around beer. Talking with beer drinkers since Sunday, we know the overwhelming majority are really enjoying seeing Budweiser speak up with conviction. This Bud’s for them.
A good response, which falls completely in line with the tone of the ad and what it is communicating.
I'm a little torn from a consumer perspective as I don't like Budweiser, it tastes like lemonade. I do now tend to love what could be classed as craft beers. My current favourite is a crazy strong IPA from Brewdog called Jackhammer. It's got such a gorgeous flavour, but's it's very strong at 7.2%. In the Brewdog bars I also love they way they describe the beer, and how they serve it in beautiful 1/3 pint glasses.