By Barry Janoff
January 29, 2014: Anheuser-Busch is spending millions of dollars this Sunday for category exclusivity to advertise during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox.
The beer maker will run four minutes worth of commercials starring the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Don Cheadle: two spots for Budweiser, three for Bud Light and a 30-second spot, "Hero's Welcome," that, according to Anheuser-Busch, "will kick off a year-long social media campaign.
But even with an anticipated viewing audience of upward of 100 million, the messages may be falling on deaf ears.
Not because of the Super Bowl clutter, but because fewer beer drinkers in America want to spend money on domestic beers such as Bud and Bud Light.
According to a new report from marketing and research firm Mintel, Chicago, "22% of Americans say they are drinking less domestic beer because they're drinking wine instead and 18% are focusing their alcohol consumption on liquor in lieu of domestic beer."
Mintel cites "flat" volume sales for "traditional domestic [beer]" while the craft beer category "continues to make inroads, especially among the all-important 25-34 age group, where 51% feel that smaller producers make better quality products than their larger brethren."
"We've seen for years that Americans of legal drinking age are no longer only beer, wine, or liquor drinkers, instead they're trying a variety of alcoholic beverages," Jennifer Zegler, global food and drink analyst for Mintel, said in a statement. "Their drinks — or drinks — of choice during the Super Bowl will likely be no exception, with consumers curious to try new craft beers, hard ciders, sparkling wine, and flavored liquors,"
According to Zegler, "This thirst for variety has led to flat volume sales for brewers, even though people are buying more of much-smaller segments like craft beer and hard cider. Brewers of all sizes must cater to this curiosity with new styles, taste profiles, and limited-edition options."
Beyond taste choices, Mintel says that domestic beer brewers such as Anheuser-Busch are being hit on the health issue, as well.
According to the new study, "20% of Americans say they are cutting back on domestic beer consumption because it has too many calories and 15% believe it to be unhealthy."
In turn, "This has helped buoy the sales of wine, traditionally seen as a healthier option, which saw sales increase 2.6% in 2013 to an estimated $42 billion, compared to a rather stagnant 0.3% increase for beer."
Overall, 53% of U.S. consumers say they have had liquor in the last six months and 52% have enjoyed wine, while 52% have had any domestic beer and 45% any imported beer, including regular and lower-calorie products.
Beer represented 44% of new alcoholic product launches in 2013, up from only 15% in 2009, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database.
From 2012 to 2013, the number of new beer launches increased by a 113%. Concurrently, limited-edition beers saw an 850% increase in the U.S. from 2010-2013, according to Mintel.
Adults of legal drinking age are always reconsidering their alcoholic beverage choices, leaving manufacturers constantly competing for consumption," said Zegler.
"22% say they're drinking less domestic beer because they're drinking wine instead, 18% are focusing on liquor in lieu of domestic beer."
Is Anheuser-Busch throwing money into the Super Bowl wind and elsewhere via its sports alliances? Not exactly.
Mintel said its research finds indicates that "alcoholic beverage consumption declines with age," meaning that Anhueser-Busch and other brewers should target "drinkers aged 22-34 who might be making more educated choices now, which could develop into long-term habits."
"Despite the current lack of loyalty among legal drinkers, there's the possibility that 25-34 year olds are cutting back on their experimentation as they age," said Zegler. "This could be a time when they are establishing their favorite products, or at best preferred brands, to which they might remain loyal throughout their adulthood.
"It's even more imperative that manufacturers form authentic connections with these young adults of legal drinking age, but continue to capture their interest with a rotation of new products," said Zegler.
A-B Putting Arnold, Cheadle, Llamas, Puppies In Super Bowl Spotlight
Back to Super Bowl 48
Back to Home Page