Tag Archives: Bud Light

Friday’s 4-1-1, What’s Coors Light Doing Style?

Coors Light Instore Display

I really didn’t know what to make of this when I saw it. I was in a rush and I caught a glimpse of something familiar on my way out the convenience store door (and it wasn’t the girl!) That tag.


The same thing that Bud Light just used?

I mean, I can see the value of using code and/or image recognition on your packaging to drive a deeper experience, but I find it interesting that Coors Light chose to do the same exact thing their biggest competitor – Bud Light – chose to do only a few months ago.

I stood for a split second in disbelief – the others in the store thought I was just staring at the display – then, I took a photo and went on my very way. I thought it was such a blatant rip-off that I didn’t want to snap the tag on the box or have anything to do with Coors Light, but the next time I found myself in a grocery store, I had to stop by the beer and see what it was all about.

Coors Light Snap Tag Box

I got a text message back, directing me to a site, and an option to receive more texts. So, now I’m in their communication stream. We’ll see what happens.

I thought I’d spend today’s Friday 4-1-1 reflecting a little deeper on this experience – because there are solid components here – instead of instantly shutting them off since I’d seen this before.

1. On the surface, all codes are created equal – the one thing that is different between all of the image and code-scanning technologies is whether or not you need a special app on your phone to engage with it. And really, you just need the app to read the image (i.e. Google Goggles) or code (i.e. QR code/MS Tag). They all open the door to the same content. I’ve found these image recognition technologies (SnapTag and JagTag) need a couple more clicks to access the content, but to me, it’s not an inconvenience in the experience. Question for Coors Light is why use the same exact technology (SnapTag) that Bud Light just used? I doubt there was such a huge wave of success from Bud Light’s campaign that they felt they needed to ride it?? I would have picked another one. Because they all do the same thing.

2. Codes are a key to unlocking multi-channel experiences – from the scan, I get instant access to:

  • .com (digital)
  • Facebook, Twitter (social)
  • iPhone game app (mobile)
  • Plus rich content like videos and sharable memes – the Ditka Cold Call to your friends is my favorite.
  • And I’m in their communication stream via text message.

See the power of codes? More and more, marketers are realizing this low-cost technology can enable deeper brand experiences. And big brands like this don’t need to create special content for these extended experiences. They just need to drive people there.

Welcome the code. I just would have picked another one.

3. Do consumers care? – Consumers want value and ease. These codes have the potential to provide value by unlocking deeper content, be it more brand content or coupons, and some of them are easier to use than others. These SnapTags don’t require a smartphone or an app, they just require an awareness and desire from the consumer to interact with them. So, you can’t get any easier than it already is. I would just love to know how successful these are. Anyone know the “snap rate” for the Bud Light or Coors Light campaigns?

I would still recommend tags in addition to/replacement of URLs in a lot of cases because they provide instant access to the content, typically with only one click. It’s really more about consumer adoption at this point.

4. OOH has a definite place in the ecosystem – and more than that, has a definite place in code-based campaign ecosystems. And the OOH component doesn’t have to be “digital.” As we see here, with this static in-store display, they’re stopping consumers and making them aware. I think anyone who’s considering implementing a campaign like this should take note of the simple solutions used here. You can’t get any more lowfi, but in my opinion, it’s incredibly effective .

“Uh-huh” – so, if 2 major beer makers are using technologies like this, will all the others? I think it’s only a good thing – whether or not I agree with Coors Light’s choice – for these sorts of technologies that such big brands are using them. They enable a more focused, purposeful OOH component, and I think agencies will have more and more opportunities to show off creative executions in bringing these technologies to life. What we’ll see, I think, is a different way of thinking about “traditional OOH.”

“Duh” – I just don’t get the decision here. In fairness, I’m not involved in any of the brand/agency conversations, but you’d think someone would have raised this and really questioned using the same code technology. I think, more than anything, this shows how wide-open this space (code/image scanning) is, with no clear leader. And consumers haven’t tipped to one technology over another. There’s still a lot of experimentation going on.

At the heart, this is another good example of a multi-channel brand experience (and a pretty deep one at that). And for me, it all started with an OOH component.

It shows how important it is to stop people when they’re out and about and engage them in some way. Here it was through the image-scanning technology.

I just would have picked another one.

Bud Light’s Cross-Channel Engagement Fail

Bud Light Playbook Fail

In an effort to understand how brands are utilizing the Out-of-Home channel in their initiatives – specifically the “new” OOH channel, where they’re creating experiences between the real (offline) and virtual (online) worlds – I’m going to focus on paying special attention to a select number of brands and their cross-channel efforts. Some of these brands are going to be personal favorites of mine (see Coca Cola), some will be those who I’ve seen utilize this “new” OOH channel in unique ways. They’re all leaders, in some sense, in recognizing the power of reaching consumers when they’re out in the real world, literally outside of their homes. This is not a new target for brands, but today more than ever, technology and consumer behavior has reached a point to where this kind of engagement is critical. The “new” OOH is not made up of networks of physical digital screens, rather it’s made up of people, and the places/things around them, as they all have the ability to be turned “on” and connected.

I wrote about Budlight’s Playbook initiative late last year, after I’d seen a TV commercial touting a scannable image on their packaging with the ability to unlock certain pieces of content. It piqued my interest so I went to the store and found a box with the image, scanned it, and was immediately driven into this Playbook experience.

That day, I experienced quite a bit of content by simply scanning the image, but by taking that action, I also ended up in their communication stream. Since then, I’ve received a few text messages, but not as frequently as I’d expect, and certainly not in line with the expectations they set me up for when I originally scanned the image – which was a “new play every week.

But the thing I wanted to point out today happened on my commute into work this morning. I have a short commute to the train station, so my time with Howard Stern/satellite radio (so glad he re-signed for another 5 years) programming is at a premium – I always hope that I’m not going to be in the car at the same time they run their very few commercials during his show. This morning was unfortunately one of those times. Before I could change the station, though, I heard him reading a script for a commercial, saying something about “unlocking special content by scanning an image on their packaging”, and thought, “I know exactly what brand he’s talking about – Budlight.” Lo and behold, sure enough, he paid it off by saying something about experiencing “Bud Light’s Playbook” and directed everyone to “look for the image on the side of the box” or “visit Bud Light’s Facebook page.”

I smiled to myself because this was yet another channel I uncovered in their marketing mix, specifically surrounding this Playbook campaign. And to top it off, they were reaching me when I was in my car, not in front of my TV or my computer, not inside my house. I was out and about, going through my daily routine, and was made aware of a) the product (no duh!), b) the Playbook campaign and the accompanying content and c) the most important thing, the ability to interact with an otherwise non-interactive thing – their box.

That’s the thing here – it’s not about them advertising on the radio or on The Howard Stern Show (although I think it’s a VERY smart buy), it’s about their commitment to this new type of engagement (via this enabling mobile technology) and making sure their consumers know what & how to interact with it. The image scanning technology won’t work if people don’t know what it is and/or how to operate it. If it doesn’t work, no one will experience the brand through this channel.

As I explore the different ways brands are utilizing this “new” OOH space, I think it’s important to recognize every channel they’re using in the ecosystem. OOH – whether in the traditional sense, even throwing the word “digital” in front of it, or this “new” one that I talk about – is only one of them. It can be made infinitely more powerful by using other channels and telling a consistent story across them all. As we’ve seen with Bud Light and their TV commercials, radio spots, online and mobile properties, they’re spending an incredible amount of time and money supporting this campaign, and at the heart of it all is this new type of engagement that allows consumers to experience the brand through a regular, everyday object – the box that holds their beer cans.

But here’s the real thing – unfortunately, the most important aspect to this whole experience – the payoff/promise at the other end – is now no longer available. As I look at the Facebook page, searching for anything around the Playbook, I am at a loss. There’s no mention of anything Playbook-related. So, the commercial, along with my previous experience, hooked me, and drove me to look for something that wasn’t there. As is the case with any sort of interactive technology when you’re out and about and it doesn’t work, here it is now – I feel jipped. Totally let down. This ended up being a huge waste of my time and as a brand, that’s the last feeling you want me to be feeling.

Fail, Bud Light, Fail.

Bud Light Merges the Real-World (Offline) with the Virtual World (Online)

Recently, I’ve talked a lot about the ability (and power) of mobile + code and/or image recognition technology to bridge the offline with the online and drive consumers deeper into brand experiences. I’ve noticed that brands are increasingly becoming better at telling their story through these technologies, which is critical because, now more than ever, consumers can access those brands through a myriad of channels. There’s a long way to go, for sure – brands need to consider their marketing and communications mix, what channels they’re going to advertise and be present in, what story they’re going to tell & how they’re going to tell it in each of those channels, and more importantly, how/if they’re going to support their story in the “unconventional” channels with what they do in the more “conventional” channels. There’s a brand-story component and an advertising component and the crux is always, how well do they work with each other? Organizations, particularly large ones, are often times fragmented to the point of not knowing what each department (marketing, advertising, PR, customer service, etc…) is doing, much less integrating with each other to make their story and individual campaigns stronger. So, it was a nice surprise when I saw a Bud Light commercial (er, Apollo Creed) call out the ability to “snap” a photo of the box and get immediate access to a clever piece of content – the Bud Light Playbook – all football-season long.

It’s great to see the brand a) incorporating technology like this as a way to touch the consumer while they’re out and about and b) raising consumers’ awareness of this new type of experience via their TV (largest “conventional” media channel) spot. This is obviously a much better way to drive this type of action vs. sticking a code on printed material. I think it’s a great case to learn from, particularly when brands want to place these codes/use this type of technology on their packaging. Consumers are smart, but they need as much awareness of these new entry points as brands can give them.

I was at the store this weekend and although I wasn’t in the market for Bud Light, I had to stop and take a picture of the box so I could get into this experience.

When I found a box that could be “activated” (only found on 12-pack cans), I didn’t have to mess around with it to know what to do. Everything was prominent, clear and actionable. They included imagery of the enticement (the Playbook) front and center, the call-to-action was large enough to notice and read, the “code” was prominent, and the directions were clear.

I don’t know that you could do a better job in executing the basics.

As soon as I texted the picture in, I was led on this adventure which I still can’t determine whether it was annoying or smart. The 1st text I received was to verify my age (smart).

Bud Light Snap Code

The 2nd text was when the true brand experience, in terms of content, started. The options were plentiful – watch this week’s “play”, see more plays, see recipes, tailgating tips, or “Behind Enemy Lines” trailers. And, if I wanted, link directly to the Facebook page. (First impression – smart).

Bud Light Snap Code 2nd Text

I thought this was excellent in terms of the brand’s story – they clearly have a lot of content to offer in this experience. However, I felt like there were so many options that I might lose out on some of the content. I watched the video first and was completely underwhelmed. It rendered horribly on my phone and seemed to start & stop abruptly. There was no “wrapper” at the beginning and end of the video – when it stopped, it just stopped, and popped me back out to my text message. I watched it again, just to see if I missed anything. I didn’t. I commend them on making these videos unique – in style (graphical), in tone, and in content – but I found the combination to verge on silly and void of value. Nonetheless, I couldn’t stop my brand experience here, so I texted in “A” for more plays.

Bud Light Snap Code Text 3

And what do you think I got? Even MORE options – 3 individual plays and then an option for even more plays. (Annoying, now.) So, I closed my eyes and picked one. And I got back another underwhelming video and just two, simple options – go to Facebook or back to the dreaded multi-option menu. (Less annoying.)

Bud Light Scan Code Text 4

It was at this point that I shut my phone down because I had enough of the mobile experience. It didn’t prove to be valuable to me (in fairness, I wasn’t anywhere near a grill or a football game or any environment this seems intended for) and I was down the path so far that I didn’t know what would be required of me to go back and experience other, non-play-video content. So, I just stopped. I figured I could get a better experience in front of my computer. Sure enough, that was the case.

When I got home, I opened up my trusty computer and went straight to the Bud Light Facebook page. Since I wasn’t a fan, the default for me was the Playbook tab. (In executing initiatives for clients, this is something standard that we do, too – default to the campaign-specific tab until someone “Likes” the brand. At that point, the default page is the Wall.) Right there, front and center, was another image of the code and more call-to-action/instructions. Now, I felt like the experience was back to being smart – seeing this front and center creates another level of awareness that the boxes are interactive and reinforces the ability to get the brand on-the-go. It’s also another opportunity to show how easy it really is.

Bud Light Facebook HOME page

Quite possibly my favorite element of this page is the ability to see all of the videos that I felt like I missed whenever I took a certain path through the mobile experience. Seeing more videos didn’t change my opinion of them, but it gave me satisfaction in the fact that I now knew the entire “playlist” and wasn’t missing out on any content.

The rest of the page and the different types of content is good. There’s coaches “tips” (for tailgating and grilling) and tailgating/game-watching recipes and an interactive poll – all different types with different levels of interactivity. There really seems to be something for everyone, regardless of the amount of time someone has to spend with the brand at any given time.

In my opinion, the best part about this whole experience, from an outsider’s point of view, and it’s really smart – it’s all centered around a content strategy that releases new content every week. The content well is continuously being filled, if you will. This is an element of the campaign that truly enables a deeper experience with the brand because a) it keeps content fresh and b) the consumer can receive the “fresh” content through multiple channels. They don’t need to be in front of their computer to keep up with the brand. They just need to be part of the experience and it doesn’t matter if they’re in their home or not. In fact, this particular campaign seems to be primarily targeted to those hard-core football fans who would take many Bud Lights out to the game and tailgate, and it’s there, at the game, outside of their home, that they engage with the brand and this content.

Content is key. Simple as that.

This is just another example of how technology enables an otherwise static, 1-way push-message THING (a box) to become an interactive, 2-way communication VEHICLE.  It’s an illustration of the “new” OOH that I talk about – more and more, we’re seeing the places and things around us having the ability to be “turned on.” And what this does, not only in reaching consumers where they are, when they want it, how they want it, it changes the game in a profound way because it moves something that has always been used to create awareness to something that can now be used to create engagement. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.