Branding, Connecting, And Cracking Open A Cold One

For many who drink alcohol, beer and running do not sound like a good combination. However, for alcohol company AB InBev (Anheuser Busch Inbev), which owns beer labels like Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois, they are seizing their opportunity to connect with a perhaps-niche market of young runners who like to drink (or young drinkers who like to run). 

Duane Stanford, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, explains the audience best: “(Young people) are really balancing indulgence with health and wellness. They are perfectly willing to go out and drink on a weekend night, and then really eat well the rest of the week…There is an opportunity for beer companies to say, ‘let me be the brand that you indulge with,’ but also we are going to give you a workable indulgence because we are going to cut the calories, cut the carbs and give you flavor.” 

Michelob ULTRA, one of AB InBev’s brands, is hosting a digital “Beer Run,” which allows users who interact with the MyCooler app to earn free beer via a $5 prepaid card by submitting their miles ran, workout summary, photos and more. According to a press release from the brand, Michelob ULTRA believes workouts are better with others, and aims to reward those who exercise with the unmatched experience of grabbing a cold one with friends after working out.

To bring this fun exchange on more people’s radars, Michelob is setting up stations throughout New York City and Chicago to hand out beer and sign them up for the program on Saturday, May 15. This campaign will kick off on May 15th and is set to run through the summer, giving Michelob a chance to find its way into thousands more fridges across the country.

Known for its low-calorie nature, Michelob has presented itself as a reward for athletic pursuits in its past campaigns with cyclist Lance Armstrong, and has set itself apart from the standard “party” beer brands by taking a different route. Given that the Beer Run campaign is built around moving physically-active users to download an app, AB InBev is leveraging its opportunity to develop a loyalty program intentionally. 

Alissa Heinerscheid, VP of direct-to-consumer marketing for AB InBev, said MyCooler was “built around the insight that consumers are looking to engage with content, merchandise, and e-commerce across our full portfolio of brands. Through the program, we are building deep connections between consumers and our brands by offering personalized content and unique, compelling experiences and merchandise.”

Building deep connections as a brand is not all too different from building deep connections in our personal lives. While we likely don’t want to start a relationship by sitting down for hours of late-night chats with a brand we’ve never heard of, a connection can be sparked with a common interest. In AB InBev’s and their target audience for this campaign’s case, that common interest is valuing exercise and rewarding hard work.

Every company has the opportunity to connect with their audience on a deeper level, but few take the time to consider its immense value. Not only can connecting with your customers on something they value drive sales and downloads, it also improves a company’s overall appearance to those outside of its niche-market, especially when the connection is something as apolitical like working out and as enjoyable as drinking beer.

Look around at businesses like yours, then take the time to look at their audiences. As diverse and different as they may seem, there might be an opportunity as golden as a Michelob to improve loyalty to your business by finding a niche market of your own to share something in common.

At Miller Ad Agency, we look to help businesses of all sizes and specialties thrive. Whether you’re looking to cast a wide net or connect with a smaller group, we have the data, tools and team to help reach your goals.