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Brief Published: 9 Oct 2020

Budweiser’s Hyper-Local Push with Detroit Rapper Big Sean

Budweiser x Big Sean

Tapping into an increased consumer desire for hyper-local brand communications stirred by the pandemic, US beer brand Budweiser has announced that it’s doubling down on city-specific marketing. Its Michigan-wide release of a special-edition beer can, featuring Detroit-born rapper Big Sean, to coincide with the hip hop star’s new album, Detroit 2, is an early example.

The limited-edition packaging has been distributed throughout Michigan since the end of September. Budweiser is also running a Budweiser.com/Detroit micro-site, which allows consumers to buy the limited-edition product online via US delivery services Drizly and Instacart; to find it in a store near them and to register for a chance to virtually meet Big Sean.

The campaign is a bid to engage a local millennial audience, a group now less likely to drink big brand beer – Budweiser failed to make the list of the top three best-selling beers in the US for the first time since the 1970s in 2018, a fall attributed to millennial disinterest (Business Insider, 2018).

The brand is aiming to mitigate that with local campaigns, which will become ever-more tailored in 2021. “We are going to be hypersensitive and insightful as to how Budweiser lives and breathes within a local market and then create a campaign surrounded by that,” said Budweiser’s vice-president of marketing, Monica Rustgi.

In August, Budweiser produced a limited-edition ‘Cincinnati Buds’ can, in honour of a new record set by Cincinnati Reds baseball player Trevor Bauer. Bauer had responded to news from his team’s Twitter account that his teammate Sonny Gray had set a new team record for strikeouts with a Tweet that read ‘hold my beer’, leading Budweiser to offer to make a limited-edition can, should Bauer beat Gray’s record.

The beer giant is just one example of how canny brands are pivoting to a hyper-local approach in a bid to appeal to consumers whose attitudes to their neighbourhoods have been revolutionised by Covid-19. See Leaning into Local, part of our recent Brand Engagement Spotlight series, Community + Commerce, for need-to-know strategies.