Market positioning of macro vs. micro beer

My friends and I all cried watching the lost puppy ad for Budweiser, but the other Bud ad was probably more interesting from a market positioning standpoint, because Budweiser came out swinging against the craft beers that have undercut its dominance (still huge) of the American beer market.

The Beer Babe has a great take on how craft brewers are going to have to respond. Bud has always positioned itself as the beer of men having a good time, but here it explicitly marks itself as separate from unmanly beer geeks with twee mustaches and weird flavors: Bud is the beer of fun. Craft brews are the beer of pretentious neckbeards.

Beer Babe also points out that in this ad there are no women until one shows up bringing a tray of Bud to the party of bros. Yes, talking sexism with “The Beer Babe” may sound a little odd, but she has a great point: the Bud ad shows craft-beer-drinking as a sausagefest and Bud-drinking as a party with hot chicks.

The attack may be unfair and sexist, but it’s also got to hurt, because there’s an element of truth to the “twirly-mustache aroma-analyzing takes-it-too-seriously” caricature of the beer scene. It’s a weak point for people who make and like craft beer, and Bud will take advantage of it as much as it can.

The Beer Babe has the points for a really comprehensive response outlined in her post, and craft-brew manufacturers, distributors, and fans would do well to take note of them. This has the makings of a really interesting business case study in about a year or two.

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