How Anheuser-Busch's Digital Strategy Wins with Mobile Tech

Katie Huston Picture

by Katie Huston | Last Updated: Oct 30, 2018

Anheuser-Busch is famous for a few things: prominent beer brands like Bud Light, Michelob and Shock Top, their heart-clenching Budweiser Clydesdale commercials that happen annually during the "Big Game", and their on-target digital strategy. As one of the world’s beverage giants, Anheuser-Busch has been serving up drinks for more than 100 years and over the generations, their team has been able to keep up with the trends in innovation, diversification, and technology as they’ve evolved. Not many companies can say that they’ve done the same, so we thought we could all learn a lesson or two about refreshing our digital strategies from the beverage giant. Here are some innovative ideas from the Beer Boss themselves to jump-start your digital strategy. Budweiser Beer Garage VR Experience Budweiser isn’t the first to do immersive reality experiences, but they may have done it the best in the beer industry. Their “Beer Garage” experience de"brewed" in 2016 at South by Southwest in Austin, TX and featured an all-senses 360-degree journey, starting with the harvesting of the hops all the way to sipping a perfectly chilled Budweiser. The team at Budweiser used Oculus VR headsets to replicate the experience and even added in the cold blast of the refrigeration in the brewing room and the distinct smell of fresh hops. Retail Gamification In combination with Ibotta, a rewards-based cashback app, shoppers get special offers through Ibotta’s gamification experience that’s exclusively on mobile. Stella Artois, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra are three of the several AB brands that are a part of the deal, where shoppers can receive a rebate for scanning a certain number of receipts after purchase. Anheuser-Busch initially started this program to catch the attention of the mobile-savvy millennial crowd and promote a game-like experience around the path to purchase. This type of unique mobile experience is becoming more prevalent in CPG with brands like Perrier and Lucky Charms testing their creative chops on gamification elements in the aisle. Buds For Buds Bud Light rolled out an interactive Facebook campaign punnily named “Buds for Buds”, where Bud Light enthusiasts could “gift” their friends a Bud Light through Facebook Messenger for free. The sender filled out an online form with their friend’s info, sent it through Messenger, and the receiver would be able to pull up the experience on their mobile device and show it to any accepting bar or restaurant. The point-of-sale mobile experience encouraged beer drinkers to share the love with their friends, creating that good buzz that every brand wants on social! Anheuser-Busch is taking the recent news of beer sales declining in stride, and using digital to appeal to the new generations of beer drinkers. Chief Beverage Officer at AB, Lucas Herscovici said, “Our dream is to be the No. 1 CPG brand in digital, and then optimizing things for mobile is one way of getting there.” Anheuser-Busch knows that its young and valuable customers are craving connections on mobile, and they’re popping the bottle on customized, mobile experiences that other brands can take note from.

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