Lucas Herscovici, VP of digital marketing at Anheuser-Busch (part of the world’s No.1 brewer AB InBev) chatted to BeverageDaily.com after speaking at eBev 2013 in Denver on ‘Driving Beverage Sales in a Digital Age’.
Asked what strategies AB brands were following to drive sales in a digital age, Herscovici says that digital surpassed TV this year for the first time, in terms of time spent on the platforms by consumers.
Anheuser-Busch needs to be where its beer drinkers are, he insists, and digital media – Facebook in particular – offers “unprecedented targeting capabilities, which provides advantages over other forms of media such as print and broadcast ads”.
“We are moving from targeting males 21-35 with a single TV ad to being able to deliver different pieces of content to very specific audiences,” Herscovici reveals.
‘We view mobile as the first screen’
Digital media engaged beer drinkers one-to-one both pre- and post-purchase, Herscovici says, while its activations (social or technological innovations) enhance retail activations and supply experiential events.
“Within social media, we can engage our influencers and brand advocates to amplify key moments for our beers,” he says.
Mobile was the biggest driver of the shift towards digital, Herscovici explains, with smartphone adoption happening almost twice as quickly as TV.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we now view mobile as the first screen. Understanding how and when to engage our consumers via mobile devices is critical to our success,” he says.
Describing social media and Facebook in particular, as one “lynchpin in our marketing strategy”, Hersocivi notes that beer was social by nature, with Budweiser and Bud Light seen as two of the most socially engaged brands based on Facebook and Twitter activity.
“While some platforms like Pinterest and Instagram aren’t yet age-gated, we are actively observing those spaces,” he says.
Budweiser’s crowd-sourcing DNA
Specific examples of Anheuser-Busch digital successes include a Vine video (the Twitter-owned app allows users to create six-second videos) highlighting major league baseball (MLB) Budweiser cans, Herscovici says, which the brand liked so much it turned into a Times Square billboard.
Budweiser subsequently invited fans to submit their own videos. “I can’t wait to see what comes back. If I know the Budweiser community, we’ll receive some creative six-second videos from the community,” he adds.
Insisting that crowd-sourcing content is now part of Budweiser’s DNA, Herscovici says that a recent collaboration with social video marketing company Poptent led to Budweiser holding a competition to crowd source a 30-second video, which was then featured in Game 1 of the World Series.
Meanwhile, for the No.1 US beer brand Bud Light, Facebook showed its worth via a campaign – backed by an investment in engaging content – that hit 20% of US households and grew sales 3.3% to that group.
“The campaign yielded a 6x return on advertising spend. The results were so strong that Facebook shared the case study with their analysts,” Herscovici says.