For all the money that the beer giants spend each year eager to brand their own brews, this new digital campaign is a head-scratcher: “Let’s Grab a Beer.”

Not let’s grab a Bud. Or a Bud Light. Or even a Coors. Just an unbranded “Let’s Grab a Beer.”

That’s entirely intentional, says Julia Mize, vice president of the beer category at Anheuser-Busch — which has been the Super Bowl’s biggest advertiser for years. “We want to start and continue a conversation about beer — and make sure that we have a healthy beer category for the long term.”

That may take some doing. Even as craft beer sales continue to soar, domestic light beer sales are expected to hit a 10-year low this year, according to the Shanken News Daily, a global spirits, wine and beer news service. This is not good news for the likes of Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors, whose Bud Light and Coors Light brands rank as the industry’s top-sellers.

For AB, it’s simply about trying to grow overall beer sales. The brand is so big that if the whole industry gets a lift, AB likely gets one, too. This latest digital campaign, which kicked off this week, is a nuanced attempt to appeal directly to Millennials — who broadly represent the future of the industry. Never mind that many younger drinkers tend to favor spirits, wines and craft beers.

“The industry, as a whole, has been turned upside down by the craft brewers,” says Chris Rice, president of All About Beer Magazine, a consumer beer publication. At last count, there were roughly 3,200 craft brewers and counting, he says. “There are a lot of issues when a segment grows that quickly.”

Issue Number One: How to convince Millennials that drinking beer — any beer — is cool?

Anheuser-Busch’s latest answer: With a digital presence that tells them it is. For example, the website uses key survey data to make beer-drinking sound oh-so-fashionable. Some 67% of beer-drinkers consider themselves foodies vs. just 38% of non-beer drinkers, the site points out. And get this: 81% of beer drinkers are likely to use social media vs. 70% of non-beer drinkers, the site says.

There’s more. Beer drinkers are “significantly” more likely to have a more “sophisticated” sense of style (86%) than non-beer drinkers (63 %), according to the posted survey results from the research firm Wakefield Research.

“Our goal is to elevate beer and beer occasions,” says Mize. “We want consumers to think about beer at being a go-to for any occasion.”

Ultimately, Mize says, she hopes that other major beer makers sign-on to be part of the “Let’s Grab a Beer” movement. “If the beer category grows, than everyone grows.”

Source: USA Today