Exclusive interview

Budweiser will have more ‘surprise’ campaigns and product innovation

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Robinson: 'It's all about reactive marketing'
Robinson: 'It's all about reactive marketing'

Related tags Wales England

Budweiser will launch more “surprise” customer-focused campaigns as well as new liquid and packaging innovation after its Euro 2016 beer giveaway strategy increased sales in some pubs and bars by more than 100%.

AB InBev-owned Budweiser took advantage of Wales’s strong performance in the Euro 2016 football tournament earlier this year by giving out free beers in the country, before extending the offer to England, resulting in a massive uptick in on-trade sales.

The campaign allowed customers to claim one free beer in pubs and shops across England and Wales, was executed within days of the Welsh football team reaching the semi-finals and has led the global brand to plan more short-term activity, according to marketing director, UK and Ireland, Nick Robinson.

“The campaign had a huge impact in Wales and through England. It ran through Metro​ in England and encouraged fans all over the country to join their Welsh compatriots in celebrating Wales’s success and it drove people into the bars.”

One free bottle for every customer campaign was 'huge in pubs'

Robinson continued: “The amount of success varies by bar, but some of the sales figures shows that those who took part in it got more customers and retained them, so some of the bars were up on sales by more than 100%.”

No hard data 

There is no hard data to say what the actual impact of the campaign was, because it is still being gathered, added Robinson.

However, early indications suggest it was a big success for the brand and operators, and has made Robinson and the team behind Budweiser more open to shorter-term activity.

“The beer giveaway was planned at half time, was on social media within hours and was executed within four days,” said Robinson. “It shows that big global brands can mobilise quickly and we’re planning a few things for this year and will be open to doing something similar to the Wales promotion.”

An example of what can be done has now been set and shows the days of long pre-planned marketing activity could be coming to an end, although Robinson concedes such marketing activity does still have value.

“We need to condition ourselves to be more reactive and agile. In our minds, this was one of the most successful campaigns we’ve run and we’re looking to do similar ones soon.”

Big impact on sales

He also advised pubs to “get involved” with such activity in the future as it could have a big impact on sales.

He said: “Take advantage, it’s about seizing the opportunity and being agile.”

As for new product innovation, Robinson could not reveal specific details, but said: “We have to be honest, we have got some big plans for innovation for 2017, which we’re going to start talking about next month to customers.

“The innovation could be around liquids or packaging or both, but I can’t say any more than that.”

Robinson was also unable to reveal information about AB InBev’s merger and acquisition activity with SAB Miller, but said the company was continuing to perform strongly.

Related topics Beer Marketing

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