[A Lesson in Branding]: Budweiser Black Crown

Let’s take it back to the Super Bowl for a second. We’re in the first quarter, commercials come on, and millions of viewers see Budweiser‘s TV spot for their latest brand extension, Budweiser Black Crown. In it, a group of young, attractive partygoers laugh and smile as they drink from the new dark, sleek Black Crown bottles. It looks like they’re having a really good time. Some people were probably excited for the new launch, while others might have been thinking, “Another Budweiser?” For me, I looked at it from a branding perspective.

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Behind The Scenes of Budweiser Black Crown
[click to see the TV spot here]

I’d recently read that the overextension of brands can be fatal for many companies, so as I watched the spot, I wondered how Budweiser would fare through all of this. I tried to get a good sense of who they were targeting and what they were trying to say. With a powerful primary brand and a number of prior extensions under their umbrella, like Budweiser Select and Select 55, as well as the Bud Light and Bud Ice products, you’d think they had enough, but it looks like things are a little different this time: they’re pushing the [lifestyle] button with Black Crown.

Bud Select is about superior brewing and Select 55 is about calories, but it looks like B.C. is positioning itself inside of a culture that’s all about youth, fun, beauty, and belonging. Some of the words, or brand elements, that come to my mind include [cool, young, exclusive, attractive, sleek, refined].  In the ad, the narrator openly suggests that they used feedback from their target audience to put the brand together perfectly: it’s for the cool crowd, by the cool crowd. I think it’s safe to say that I like what Black Crown is offering. I’ve never been the biggest beer fan, but I do want to get my hands on a bottle. It feels like a match.