When the Super Bowl commercials aired, it didn’t matter who was a fan of the Budweiser brand.
Everybody fell in love with Puppy Love’s sequel, Lost Dog. It took the number-one spot on just about every list of top Super Bowl commercials, just as its predecessor did. In fact, it topped our own list of companies that nailed content marketing during this year’s big game.
It followed the Golden Rule of content marketing: “Thou Shalt Not Give a Sales Pitch.”
How Budweiser Wins at Content: 7 Ways
Seriously, though, the commercial had nothing to do with beer, which is a huge part of its success. Naturally, the company also pulled on our heart strings by employing what may well be the cutest puppy on the planet (actually, eight of the most adorable pups, according to People Magazine.), and delivered a universal message. Budweiser has done so well with their Super Bowl ads, that it begged the question, “What else are they doing right?”
1. The Clydesdales are Content Marketing Pieces Masquerading as Mascots.
Yeah, let that soak in. The company explains that the Clydesdales became part of Budweiser’s history when August A. Busch, Jr. and Adolphus Busch gave two to their father to commemorate the end of prohibition. (Yes, Budweiser was using content marketing before it was cool.) Although Clydesdales are working horses, known as draught horses, there’s no indication that they have any actual history that involves beer, according to the website. What they do have, however, is star power. Oh, and a blog of their own. Oddly enough, there doesn’t appear to be an official Budweiser blog attached to the website, but you can learn all about the Clydesdales. It covers everything from grooming, to vet visits, and recent appearances. There’s even a section devoted to photos and videos, which can teach you all about the foals, how they are named, and what requirements a hitch horse must have. Here’s the kicker- the mascots have a mascot. Remember the Dalmatian commercials that ran before the Goldens took over? Yes, you can find information about their spotted-dog mascot program as well.
2. The Budweiser Website also Hosts Sports Info.
Knowing that the company has involvement in many sporting events, it’s probably no surprise that they’d talk about these ventures on their website. You can see info on the NASCAR #4 car, which Budweiser sponsors, or you can check out some links to apps that they’ve released under the name “AB InBev.” Their apps give baseball, football, hockey, basketball and UFC fans the opportunity to predict games for a chance to win free tickets. Did you catch what’s missing? A sales pitch! Budweiser has created all of this fantastic content with the reader in mind. It’s not designed to make a sale, but to engage people instead.
3. You Can Get Behind-the-Scenes Music Info, Too.
The website has a section dubbed: “Made in America” Music Documentary Series. In it, you’ll find exclusive interviews with musicians from different parts of the United States. In Memphis, there’s Project Pat of Three 6 Mafia. In Seattle, you can listen to Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service. In total, there are 12 different videos, loaded with popular musicians from almost every imaginable genre. Although they all have the company’s flagship product in portions of the video, they never talk about it or try to sell it. It’s all about delivering relevant content to their readers.
4. You Can Find Budweiser’s Content Everywhere.
One key finding that marketers have been noting lately, is the importance of having a content distribution plan. It’s not enough to have awesome content on your website. You’ve got to put it directly in front of your readers on the sites they’re already using. Before this article, you probably didn’t know how much great content was on the Budweiser website, but there’s a good chance you contributed to at least one of the more than 28 million views their Lost Dog commercial had on YouTube at the time of press. You’ll also find their content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although they don’t use social media exclusively for non-promotional content marketing, they do have a very healthy mix.
5. Their Content is Designed to Reach their Target Audience.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, people between the ages of 28 and 34 make up the beverage’s larger consumer group. However, their targets tend to settle down after that, so they do their best to market to people in their 20s as well. This may be why they use a casual tone, include apps, and have chosen to be involved in sports and music. According to Ad Age, Budweiser drinkers are 42% more likely to drive a truck than others. Think back to the bits of content you’ve seen from them, and you’ll probably remember a pick-up truck. (Yes, there was a truck in both the Puppy Love and the Lost Dog commercials.) Coincidence? We think not. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Budweiser verified at some point that they are well aware of this fact, and that they’ve included trucks in their ads as a way to bond with their consumers.
6. They Make Engagement and Sharing Easy.
Many of their pages are highly interactive. Naturally, you can click buttons to be taken to any of their social media profiles. In addition, there are also “Like” and “Tweet” buttons throughout. The company really shines, though, because their blogs all allow comments, which provides for user-generated content. They’ve also taken the time to make commenting on their website super simple, with a single sign-on. Rather than spending time creating an account with them, the comments field can be enabled by using a Facebook account.
7. Their Content Plan is Deliberate, Precise, and Well-Thought Out.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Budweiser’s decision to change the direction of their marketing in 2015 is very much intentional. A decade ago, the company had a 14.4% share of the $100 billion-dollar American beer market. Within five years, they’d dropped down to 10%, and now they have just 7.6%. Although the WSJ doesn’t outright use the phrase “content marketing,” they do note the shift to “un-Budlike” advertising. It’s unclear whether Budweiser’s new scheme will help them regain footing. After all, it takes much more than effective marketing for a company or product to succeed.
With that said, there’s no sign that they’re changing their product, and nothing to indicate that they’re rebranding, or making any other changes.
Their 2015 campaigns are highly focused on content marketing, and they’re definitely leading the pack with their efforts.