Miller Brewing has a "blog", called Brew Blog, that carries industry news. Not surprisingly, the news is often bad news for Anheuser-Busch and good news for Miller, but as I explained elsewhere, that's what a blog is about: the blogger's thoughts and opinions. Besides, Brew Blog just reports stories that are found elsewhere.
For instance, they reported a story in Advertising Age that questioned the continued health of Bud Select, a brand that has puzzled me since its release. Is it a light beer? Say so. Is it a Bud Ultra? Say so. Is it a shot at an upscale light beer? Price it so, because Bud Select runs about the same price as Bud and Bud Light...so what's the point?
Here's the Blog:
Advertising Age noted that the [Bud Select] brand has declined at a double-digit rate in supermarkets so far this year, following 2006 performance in which sales fell by 7.6 percent. This is posing a major challenge for A-B, which has invested $170 million in marketing – and the name of its flagship – in the brand.
Bud Select was a topic at A-B’s recent wholesaler meeting. From the Ad Age report: "A-B … [drew] parallels between the early struggles of Select and Bud Light (now the largest beer brand in the world) and vowing to keep media spending constant with the past two years. They did acknowledge, however, that the brand's marketing has fallen prey to the same vague positioning that felled past brand extensions Bud Dry and Bud Ice, a pitfall A-B execs earlier vowed to avoid."
Looks like they broke their vows. And parallels with Bud Light? Bud Light has been a huge success, but let's be honest. Bud Light was also a "me too" knock-off of a beer that jump-started a category and was a huge success: Miller Lite. Bud Select is building on the success of what? Anyone? Corona Light, Amstel Light, even Sam Adams Light, are all -- like Bud Light -- light versions of a strong "regular calorie" beer. What's Bud Select? I've never really gotten a good answer that makes sense to me on that one.
It almost seems that Bud Select is A-B's Miller Clear: the triumph of marketing hubris over common sense. How long will they push this cart before admitting that the horse is dead?