I’m not a huge fan of Bud Light – and haven’t had one in about 20 years. But, over the past few weeks, while watching the NFL playoffs, I’ve been struck by the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” commercials. As an ad executive, I can’t help but think about the strategy behind the campaign, and recognize that this type of marketing is what has ultimately kept the brand alive and relevant for the last few decades. (In case you haven’t seen the campaign, here’s one of the ads.)
From my understanding, Bud Light has not changed since the last time I had one. The packaging may be different, but the beer itself is the same. It doesn’t taste any better and isn’t any less filling. Yet, today, they are not only competing with the tried and true national competitors, but also an ever-growing list of craft beers from every nook and cranny of the country. On paper, Bud Light is a dinosaur that should be extinct.
However, they remain relevant. And they do so by recognizing that they are not just selling beer. If they were, they would still be screaming “less filling/tastes great.”* Bud Lite is selling an experience. They are in the business of helping people enjoy life more – and they believe that can happen when we share experiences with our friends. So, rather than sell beer, they sell experiences. And, of course, the experiences they create depend upon Bud Light.
The Budweiser “Wassup?” experience didn’t really resonate with me. But, for some reason, I can’t help but want to scream “Dilly Dilly!” at a party with friends. So, for the first time in 20+ years, I’m considering buying a 6-pack of Bud Light – not necessarily to drink it, but just to take it to a Super Bowl party so I can walk in and scream “Dilly Dilly”! I can’t do that with any other beer.
Not all brands have the budgets to change cultures, but every brand must consider what they are ultimately selling. More often than not, the product/service (and its features/benefits) is simply a conduit to something much more meaningful to the audience.
Bud Light sells experiences to enjoy life more. What are you selling?
I hope you enjoy this post. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments with me here.
Dilly Dilly! (and, Go Pats!)
* EDITOR NOTE: After publication of this post, I was reminded that the Taste Great/Less Filling campaign was by Miller Lite (not Bud Lite). My bad. But, perhaps it just goes to show that they all seem the same to me…