Recently I bought a case of Budweiser with the new can design. Because I had a few of the old cans in the refrigerator I conducted a side-by-side comparison through the eye of a marketer. The comparison raised a couple of brand trivia questions. How many brand icons and slogans appeared on the old can? How many of those do you think have been removed?
I readily admit that the new design is simpler, certainly cleaner. However, I think Anheuser-Busch has relinquished the familiar and powerful red and white design that has epitomized the brand’s long and impressive heritage. Surely, I’m not the only marketer to see it this way. A-B has a challenge. Budweiser sales have been in a slump for some time. The solution is to change something; usually it’s the advertising or the advertising agency. This time, InBev, who bought AB in 2008 decided to throw new package graphics at the problem. I think they’re going to be disappointed with the result.
Back to those two trivia questions. It may surprise you, but the former can carries eight Anheuser-Busch brand icons and/or slogans. That’s right. Eight. One can argue that we have a case of a marketer hanging on to USPs (unique selling propositions) of the past. But for Bud, these icons represent the sum of the parts – the well-differentiated heritage of a great “American” brand. Excluding fonts and colors, here’s the list and my take on the icon/slogan’s intended value:
- The 46-word barely legible “Budweiser Creed” (expertise)
- The World Renowned (heritage)
- King of Beers (superiority)
- Beechwood Aging (expertise)
- The “Bowtie” design element (heritage)
- The Crown icon (superiority)
- The Anheuser-Busch Medallion (heritage)
- The A-B Eagles (heritage)
And the answer to the 2nd trivia question? Every one of those icons appears on the new can, but you’ll have to look a lot harder to find all of them. And don’t be shy; tell me if I’ve missed any on either can design.