If you needed a sign of the pending apocalypse, it arrived in a November 23rd article from The Wall Street Journal: Bud Crowded out by Craft Beer Craze. Not long after, Budweiser refutted the claim they were retiring the Clyesdales, but the message was still clear to most: you're very likely doing it wrong in your marketing to millenials.
No, the venerable beer brand isn’t going anywhere. Yet. But they also aren’t going anywhere but down and out with 21 – 27 year olds and so they’ve decided to unleash Zombies and JayZ (same thing?) in future advertising. To be clear, I don’t know if Budweiser is actually going to use Zombies in advertising, the WSJ article mentions a Halloween promotion where red food coloring was added to draft Bud. It was the only way to get the grandfather of American beer on tap at a popular North Carolina bar. Now that Halloween is over, so too is the run of having Bud on tap apparently.
Let me also be clear on this, I’m not 21 – 27 years of age, and I also don’t remember the last time I drank a Budweiser or Bud Light or any of their other offerings, seasonal or otherwise.
But the point here is that a brand like Budweiser sees the hordes coming and is taking steps I see many other businesses ignoring. You can complain all you want (and then some) about Generation Y, Millennials, or whatever, but the fact is they’re large, and almost in charge. When they are finally, “in charge,” if you are not ready….well, you're going to look like the Clyesdales rode roughshod over you.
In addition to racking up $1.3 Trillion with a “T” in consumer spending, they account for most of the time spent online (duh). With a purchasing power and online habits that dwarf all but Gen X’ers, Millennials are poised to continue shaping, if not wholeheartedly reinventing market segments, brands, and most definitely advertising. And yet, I still see businesses online today who refuse to make their websites responsive, invest in smart social media sharing, or even learn from the advertising mistakes of bigger brands.
What are some things you can do to prepare for the zombie apocalypse?
You’re seeing changes across a wide swath of markets where Millennials are making their presence felt. Look at the rise in ZipCar – because Millennials don’t favor automobile ownership the way every other generation has. Or, the fall of another major brand, McDonald’s in favor of Chipotle and healthier fare served in fast casual formats. These are only two examples that barely scratch the surface of what’s already been done, and what is right around the corner. Budweiser is but one example of how you've got to get your organization on-baord with marketing to millenials.
Or, I guess you could ignore them, I just hope you have your next business idea ready or your retirement plan is flush.Gamma Man via photopin cc