Despite high brand awareness, 44% of American 21 to 27 year-olds have never tried a Budweiser. The problem wasn't the quality of the beer (the recipe and rigorous quality control process has been the same for 140 years) but rather Budweiser's place in a newly crowded market.
With this in mind, VaynerMedia wanted to present an opportunity for Budweiser to be judged on the values reintroduced in their "Brewed The Hard Way" 2015 Super Bowl commercial: high quality ingredients, a time-tested recipe, and a smooth, crisp finish. The solution? We brought blind taste tests into the 21st century.
VaynerMedia took over a bar in Bushwick during New York City craft beer week, filled it with hidden cameras, and invited some unsuspecting guests to try a special beer on tap. That beer was Budweiser.
We picked a real bar that was just about to open in the neighborhood, and invited people in under the cover of a soft opening event. Our hired bartender poured small samples of Budweiser in unmarked glasses and asked patrons if they wanted to try an American lager with a smooth, crisp finish. When the tasters asked for a full pint, we revealed that they had just sampled Budweiser.
What followed was a series of honest, visceral, and most importantly, positive reactions while the bartender engaged them in natural conversation about the heritage and production of our "mystery beer".
Unsurprisingly, the reveal was a dramatic one. The tasters had been genuinely enthusiastic about their sample. When they found out it was Budweiser, they completely reevaluated the way they looked at the beer, and even expressed their intent to buy it in the future.
Following on the success of the original video in Brooklyn, six localized versions of the taste test were produced in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, and San Diego. In every instance, we used the same methodology: real people, real Bud, real reactions. Using Facebook, we then targeted the videos against their respective cities in order to maximize relevancy of the content and message. All in all, this activation was a powerful lesson in how sticking to what you do best will always win. And for Budweiser, that's always been the beer.
The campaign generated more than 6.2 million views across Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, we saw PR coverage in a wide range of outlets from AdAge, to AdWeek, to beverage industry and local media. The localized targeting prompted spirited discussion among each city's beer communities. Some engaged in online sleuthing to identify which bars we used, while others expressed local pride at who had the best palates. The biggest win was that we got people to connect back to the quality and taste of Budweiser, the same things that have made it the king of beers for 140 years. Sometimes, you just need to remind people how you got there in the first place.