AB InBev cozies up to craft brewers in IGTV push

Is IGTV something you should be investing time and resources into? The brewing company, AB InBev, says yes. Below, Mobile Marketer shares the story of what new tactics this brand is using to compete in their market. 

The facts:

  • AB InBev (ABI) is running a campaign on IGTV, Instagram’s video streaming platform, to reach craft beer fans who have avoided the company’s top brands like Budweiser and Bud Light. The “Brewers on Tap” series features three films showing beer educator Christina Perozzi chatting with the founders of ABI-owned breweries, according to a statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
  • ABI seeks to demonstrate how the brewing giant, which this summer became the biggest U.S. seller of packaged craft-style beer after multiple acquisitions, helps smaller brewers. The company’s IGTV campaign includes interviews with Jaron Mitchell of 4 Pines Brewing, Mark Burford of Blue Point Brewery and Jasper Cuppaidge of Camden Town Brewery discussing beer, innovation and sustainability.
  • Leo Leone, executive creative director at marketing firm Barbarian, said the campaign aims to address skepticism toward ABI’s role in the craft brewing industry. The narrative consists of more than 20 social deliverables on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV, LinkedIn and YouTube, per the statement.

Insight:

ABI’s campaign is notable for rolling out on IGTV, which Facebook started in June as a brand extension of Instagram to take on Google’s YouTube for video sharing. IGTV lets users, including marketers and brands, create dedicated channels and stream videos up to an hour long. Before IGTV, Instagram had limited videos to one minute. Chipotle, Nike, Netflix, Warby Parker, Trader Joe’s, Everlane and Gucci were among the first brands to test IGTV with content that ranged from interviews with social influencers to material repurposed from other marketing channels like Instagram Stories, according to Digiday.

The “Brewers on Tap” series is a chance for the brewing giant to change the narrative amid perceptions that the company seeks to dominate the craft beer market the same way it became a significant force in the broader industry: through relentless acquisitions and cost-cutting, including mass layoffs. The IGTV campaign is a different strategy than past efforts that mocked the craft brewing industry, including its Budweiser ad during the 2015 Super Bowl that poked fun at fussy beer connoisseurs. The ad triggered social media backlash among observers who pointed out that ABI was scooping up the craft brewing industry with acquisitions of Goose Island, Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing. It later bought Golden Road Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, Four Peaks Brewing and Devil’s Backbone Brewing, according to Consumer Reports, pointing to its broader goal of tapping into consumers’ shifting alcohol consumption habits.

The move to increase brand awareness and market share among younger, mobile-savvy drinkers of craft beers comes as the brewing giant last month reported declining sales and profits. ABI brands like Budweiser and Bud Light have lost market share while Americans increasingly drink more spirits and wine instead of beer. One bright spot for the company was Michelob Ultra, the low-carb, low-calorie beer aimed at health-conscious drinkers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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