ABInBev, 'Moving In The Right Direction,' Focuses On U.S. Marketing

ABInBev is doubling down on heavy marketing investments as a core part of its strategy while the company continues to rebound from setbacks related to its flagship Bud Light brand in the U.S., reporting Q3 revenue growth of 5% and net income of $1.47 billion for the quarter.

During an earnings call, ABInBev CEO Michel Doukeris was asked if the company was going to rethink its business strategy in the U.S. to reflect “the new normal” for Bud Light in the U.S.

“First and foremost, we continue to invest in the U.S. for the long term. driving both our brands, but also category management,” Doukeris answered.

“We are committed to continue to invest in Bud Light and all the platforms that consumers love, including the marketing campaigns,” he continued, noting its “Easy To Summer” campaign and current “Easy To Sunday” campaign for the NFL season. The brand launched “Easy To Sunday” back at the start of the season, with the campaign focusing on celebrating fans’ game day rituals.



Doukeris also cited the company’s marketing efforts around the college football season. Bud Light expanded its connection to college football with a campaign featuring some 50 team sponsorships, promotional giveaways, a concert series, media partnerships, and its largest-ever collection of 20 College Football Team Cans.

Last week, AB INBev entered into a multiyear agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts group to make Bud Light the “official beer” of the league, beginning in January, Notably, Modelo -- which unseated Bud Light as the top-selling beer in the U.S. -- has held that sponsorship role since 2019.

Responding to a question about the UFC sponsorship agreement, Doukeris clarified that it does not involve any variable pay aspect of the agreement tied to brand performance. He also seemed bullish about the opportunities presented by the partnership, calling the UFC a “vibrant and growing international sport” with “over 500 million fans worldwide.”

He added, “it’s a great fit for Bud Light in the U.S. and for Budweiser in our other markets,” noting ABInBev’s focus on marketing investments tied to sports generally as a “great way to connect with consumers globally in a very relevant occasion." He also reminded call participants that Bud Light was the first official sponsor of the UFC, making it “ a natural fit for these two great brands to come back together.”

Doukeris noted that "stable market share trends through quarter three with signs of improvement [since April]. And what we found in our latest research is that over 40% of … Bud Light lapsed buyers declared that they are now ready to come back, open to drink Bud Light again. This gives us some certainty that we are moving in the right direction.”

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