In its third installment of American-themed summer campaigns, Budweiser is going all in by changing the name on its cans to “America.” Other classic branding items from the can will also be Americanized and covered in red, white, and blue. Instead of “King of Beers,” it will read “E Pluribus Unum.” The phrase “The World Renowned,” will now say, “Land of the Free.” Even the word “Registered” will be replaced with “Since 1776.” In the midst of patriotic events and holidays like the Summer Olympics, the election, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July, the campaign’s goal is to inspire drinkers to celebrate their country and their favorite beer’s shared values of freedom and authenticity.
The move to completely remove the Budweiser name from the hero product could be a risky proposition. Without a clear name on the package, the brand threatens the possibility of shoppers not being able to find its product in the store. But it also presents an opportunity to stand out in the crowd.
Brands, like Tropicana, have witnessed the problems associated with packaging changes. When the brand updated its packaging in 2009, shoppers struggled to quickly locate the product on the shelf. The schema of color and images that they used to rapidly pinpoint the product among a sea of OJ was no longer there.
On the other hand, Snickers’ recent 2015 packaging change was surprising and effective. It used its distinctive assets appropriately to make an impact while also maintaining the expression of the brand.
The shortcuts that people create to quickly recognize items are essential for brands, especially in the store when they are competing for attention.
What do you think? Does Budweiser’s name change represent a fun and patriotic campaign execution? Or a risky move that may hurt the brand’s shoppability?