Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Long time no see, folks, and I gotta say - it's nice to be back in the writer's chair. Well, the one with my name on it :) After a five month sabbatical (been getting my groove back in the world of full-time work - woot!), I've returned to dissect, critique, ramble, observe and - most importantly - share insights involving public relations, marketing and new(s) media topics here on Queen City PRo.

A lot has gone down over the past few months, but a marketing-related news story has caught my eye this week. What about health care reform, you ask? Or Senator Ted Kennedy passing? Or Jackson's homicide?? Nah. Not for the coming back party - it's a celebration! Speaking of parties, how about Anhesuer-Busch InBev tapping into the "'ole reliable" college town market just as reports of possible sales declines are released.

Bud Light, the best selling beer in America, had the golden idea (or purple and gold, I should say) to offer "fan cans" to kick off the college football season. As of today, Bud Light offers 26 different color combinations. There were originally 27 fan cans, but with the AP reporting that some colleges are complaining about the Bud Light promotion, that number may continue to decline.

Bud Light's Fan Can web site

My take: Genius. The promotion is bolstering sales, reinforcing branding and generating buzz (had to go there). A few frowns and complaints aside, this is a winner for A-B.

A shot of understanding: College towns contain college kids. College kids drink (according to MADD, four out of five college students pop the top) - so I hear the argument against giving them another reason. But how does a "fan can" differ from fast food restaurants selling "kids meals"? A key difference in Bud's marketing plan: It's not age-targeted. College towns are also made up of alumni, local fans, away-team visitors, tourists, school staff and families, plenty of which are 21 and up - especially on game days.

Marketing beer in college towns with local school colors does nothing more to make a 19 year old drink beer than bottles of Coca-Cola commemorating college championships make folks drink soda. Who knows, maybe they'll collect them rather than drink them??

If they just sold the East Carolina purple and gold in this part of the state...LSU who??
Update: August 27, 2009
Beer companies raising prices (