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December 2008


Piotr J.

I'd have to agree that I'm not exactly sure whether the new Drinkability slogan is THAT good. Having just left college it seems to me that if college level kids who want to "chug" the night away reach for ever lower, more watered down brands - Keystone Light, Coors Light.

That being said, you're right in pointing out the fact that Bud Light can't compete on low carbs or great taste. But Jay is right. 365 days from now, no one will remember it.

Brett Duncan

While the idea of narrowing your focus to a single word is commendable, narrowing it down to a word like "Drinkability" makes absolutely no sense to me.

Ironically, I picked up a Bud Light about a week ago (which I rarely do - I'm a Shiner man), and actually commented to my bro-in-law that it tasted like water. The fact that means I can now drink a full case in one sitting is not attractive.

I can't really see "Drinkability" resonating with any crowd, because the first response it provokes is "huh?"

Ted Wright

Sorry I am late to the conversation but it was a busy couple of weeks at the end of December. Someone just brought this article to my attention and after I read it I thought I would weigh in.

In short, Laura's conclusions are just bad. In today's marketing world authenticity rules and there is nothing authentic about using a word "drinkability" to describe a product that has nothing more "drinkability-ish" about it than any other beer. Telling people something they know not to be true is just a waste of a brand's money no matter how often or how loudly ya brand communicates that message.

But there is a larger point here. Are marketing geniuses like Al Ries (or their kids for that matter) relevant anymore? Peter Kim did an interesting post on this exact point, http://www.beingpeterkim.com/2006/03/rethinking_posi.html. Given the absolute lack of understanding in this BL post I think that Peter’s point is something to consider.

Gladwell, Godin, Keller and Weinberger. When was the last time any of us heard someone else reference Ries or Trout in the same breath/paragraph as any of the people mentioned above? If not, why not?

Everyone has a bad day and certainly not every post I write is going in the marketing cannon but banal drivel like this BL post leads me to ask, "Does the emperor have no clothes?"

Aki Kuwabara

Budweiser has made the right move with positioning by stressing its positive attribute, the ease of drinking. But "drinkability??" It does not conjure up the refreshing sensation of cold beer running down my throat while partying with my friends. Budweiser should have done more research into the hip, college-age crowd to craft a more apt message.

Jay Ehret

I'm absolutely stunned that you think Bud Light has hit a home run with "Drinkability." Believability? No. Of all the campaigns you have criticized (and most rightfully so) you pick possibly the worst campaign as the one you like.

And that's the thing. It's a campaign. Let's check in 365 days from now and see what campaign Bud Light is running. I'll lay odds it won't be drinkability. Can you remember the campaign Bud Light was running 365 days ago?


Great blog.
But you realize the budweiser logo you used is 1.4mb's?? That image will kill your bandwidth! It doesn't need to be so big! Every person who visits this page will download that 1.4mb when it could be 10kb. Just a heads up!

Joseph Maguire

Interesting slant on the drinkability slogan. I couldn't get why they would hit you over the head so hard with why the consumer should like their drink. I think their approach as being the underdog now makes sense. I am not a fan of the advertisement campaign, but with the messaging simplified I am impressed with their direction. But lets not give them more credit than they deserve there's no risk in saying your product's benefit is that your product can be just drinkable. I'll have to add your rss feed really well written and intuitive Laura!

Ben Nesvig

Interesting take on this. When I first saw the "Drinkability" slogan I thought "so it's drinkable? I can drink it? I guess that's good."

Drinkability makes sense with who they are targeting though. College students want something they can drink a lot of. Bud Light is probably seen as a premium brand to most college students.


I think some of the comments are missing the point.

In tribute to Al and his great video on passalong advertising....

Why should I drink Bud Light?

It's easy to drink.

Simple. Effective.

Most 21-35 year olds don't have one or two beers and call it a night. They probably drink 5 or more beers a night. Standing at a party/bar without a beer in your hand just doesn't look good. They want a beer that is easy to drink and doesn't fill them up so they can drink more.

Good move Bud Light.


Drinkability is more like the "idea" for their perfect word. But it's not the word you are trying to get at."Drinkable" is better, but nobody talks or thinks in terms of "Drinkability."

Greg Gillispie

"Drinkability" Yep, that's a word in every person's (at least young) language...NOT! Why not choose an "eatability" food, a "workability" job, a "writibility" attention-getting writer, etc. Be "choosibile" and find a word people grasp and use.

Dave J.

Interesting post, as my reactions to Sam's and BL current campaigns were strong:

BL billboard: Drinkability?? WTF? A serious value-position for a silly beer?

Sam Adams TV ads: Complex flavor? Got my taste buds jonesing. Gotta get me some.

I'm not trying to diminish your analysis of drinkability, a one-word value position is golden (and I'm a bit old for the target demo, too).


Hi Laura,
just a small correction: Budweiser may an American beer inside the US borders and some of the regions of heavy influence, but everywhere else, i.e. in the vast majority of what you call "rest of the world", which is actually "the world", the name budweiser has nothing to do with america. if people dont know it's czech, they assume it's german.
other than that, and the fact that your Avis example is many times recycled, good insights.

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