Budweiser--an old brand owned by Anheuser Busch Inbev--has a history of interesting marketing campaigns, many of which are very smart and some of which aren't.

A new one for Bud Light finds a way to be both at the same time.

The brand has said it would fulfill a promise made in 2016 to voluntarily disclose nutrition facts on products by 2020. The company wasn't the only to take the pledge, so is using its first-out-of-the-gate position to promote itself," according to CNBC:

Many brands, including Corona Light, Guinness, Heineken and Coors Light, already have calories and other nutrition information on their bottles or packaging. But it's in small type, or hidden on the bottom of the six-pack, and ingredients aren't listed. Bud Light went with a big, black-and-white label, similar to the ones required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on packaged foods.

The way Bud Light put it was, "You deserve to know your beer's ingredients." The label will show water, hops, barley, and rice.

And, according to the label image that CNBC had, 110 calories per 12 ounces.

It's smart, playing up the lower calories than many beers will show and what appears to be a wholesome collection of ingredients. Just one question for Anheuser-Busch: When do its other brands include similar labeling? I reached out to the company and haven't received an answer.

But it provides a bit of a conundrum for the brewer. The point of making a big splash, particularly for a light/lite beer, is to show that it's willing to provide the information early--relatively speaking, as it's been more than two years since the promises were made. That way, Bud Lite becomes a contrast to all its competitors that haven't coughed up the information.

But what about the other brands, which are also competitors in their way? Sure, many people have preferences among brands, in which case the labeling reinforces their rationalization for what is an emotional decision, like most consumer purchasing.

Then again, if none of the other Anheuser-Busch brands debut similar labels, it comes across as though they have something to hide as well.

This becomes an issue for multi-brand companies, especially when their products could compete with one another. Do you let one show up the others? Find a way to present the same sales point across as many of the brands as possible? Or hope that loyal customers don't notice? Then again, if sales will take a hit, better to have them go to another in-house brand.

It would be interesting to see the inside sales figures and compare how the different brands end up doing.

Published on: Jan 14, 2019
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