Millennial Market Shifts Trend in Beer Advertising

By Heather Ebert
Beer advertisements have typically tended to have funny, playful or sensual undertones. The goal of a beer ad is to influence preferences by appealing to emotions rather than trying to convince consumers one brand of beer is better, because let’s face it – beer drinkers know that one brand of beer is just as likely to get them as drunk as the next, even if it tastes like water. In turn, we see horses, puppies and scantily-clad women across our TV screens and in print. But lately, it seems as though some brands have turned away from these images to focus on tapping into a new market – the “socially conscious millennials.”

The millennial generation is extremely diverse, politically conscious and committed to social change noticeably more than their parents and grandparents. This new market has affected the marketing and sales of various industries, such as the $246 billion beer industry. First, these millenials are drawn to import and craft brews more than big American staples like Budweiser and Miller. Secondly, they care about the impact that corporate, governmental and individual actions have on society, and expect brands to address these implications in their communication. The need to capture this growing market has pushed beer companies and creative agencies to address responsible drinking more directly than ever.
Below are examples of this “new” ad direction that the bigger brands like Budweiser are taking to capture millennials before they turn to craft and local brands.

Socially responsible beer ads:

Heineken: Moderate Drinkers Wanted

This creative piece relies on the notion that drinking too much can ruin your “lucky night,” and encourages responsible drinking rather than getting sloshed.
Budweiser: #GiveaDamn
This was a very direct message about drinking and driving from British actress Helen Mirren. Mirren holds no punches when she says that drunk drivers are a “short-sighted, utterly-useless, oxygen-wasting, human form of pollution.” For Budweiser, this was an extremely bold move in starting a serious conversation about irresponsible drinking.
Budweiser: Friends Are Waiting

This isn’t your average “we showed you a cute puppy, so you should buy our beer” commercial. Rather, it shows how man’s best friend is a reason to not drink and drive.