Despite the large merger with European conglomerate InBev to form Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Bud Light brand is staying truly American. Its latest marketing tactic is aimed towards capturing the tailgating market. Much to the dismay and protest from some universities, Bud Light recently rolled out “Fan Cans” sporting 27 different color combinations. They just so happen to be selling certain color combinations in the college towns that have those certain colors. Coincidence?
So you’ll find purple and gold in Baton Rouge, Louisiana while blue and yellow cans can be found around Ann Arbor, Mich. Although they do not call the color “Crimson and Cream” I bet you’ll be able to find the “Deep Red & White” Fan Cans in Norman, Okla. So now tailgaters can show their team pride with not only sweatshirts and folding chairs but with the beer can they choose to hold in their hands.
Bud Light’s marketing campaign has not flown under the radar while inspiring a number of colleges and universities to claim the specially colors beer cans will promote underage drinking and binge drinking. Bud Light execs contend that they are offering the cans to only those that can legally drink alcohol. Bud Light professes that the cans merely exhibit the school colors and do not state they are endorsed by any university or display any officially licensed school logos.
In all honesty I am going to have to side with the folks at Bud Light on this one. When was the last time the color of a can encouraged a 19 year-old college sophomore to binge drink? Before Bud Light rolled out these Fan Cans, was binge drinking amongst underage college students nonexistent? Of course not! When was the last time the color of a can of beer made you want to drink the entire case? So are these universities and colleges saying that students, alumni and sports fans that are of legal drinking age can’t show their team pride with a specially designed can? I am willing to bet some of the hardcore alumni tailgaters in the SEC that are in their 40’s and 50’s will be buying just as many Bud Light Fan Cans as the underage kids. College kids will binge drink no matter what the can looks like.
Do you know what is the main cause of binge drinking on college campuses? Cheap beer! When was the last time you went to a college party and saw people binge drinking with expensive imports? Never. It’s always Milwaukee’s Best, Natty Light, Keystone Light or Pabst Blue Ribbon. This goes to show you that most university presidents are so out of touch that they actually believe the color on the outside of a can of beer will make underage college kids chug it.
Personally, I think this marketing campaign is genius. Why not go after the tailgating market and give tailgaters what they want? A new and different way to support their team is what all tailgaters are looking for. Plus, we know tailgaters are going to drink beer while tailgating. Why not give them a can that allows them to show off their team pride?
Well played Bud Light, well played.