Naturdays Offer a Refreshing Update to Natural Light’s Marketing
When sales are dipping, does it make more sense to use the power of nostalgia or update your offering to keep up with an audience’s changing tastes and preferences?
If you’re Anheuser-Busch InBev’s inexpensive, Natural Light (more colloquially referred to as Natty Light), you do both.
Beer Sales are Flat
Long known as the beer of frat parties and college students looking for the cheapest beer in the aisle, Natty had its target audience set. But over the past decade or so, young people simply haven’t been drinking as much beer as they once did. Some research says that between 2006 and 2016, beer lost 10 percent of its market share to its inebriating competitors, wine and liquor, with domestic brands taking the brunt of the hit.
But if you’ve been to a beer distributor, liquor store, gas station, or a Saturday afternoon cookout recently, chances are you’ve probably noticed a lot of beverages in what look like beer cans but taste nothing like beer. Things like spiked seltzers, Corona Refrescas, Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas, hard sodas, shandys, and more have grown rapidly during the past few years, up to a nearly $2.6 billion industry in 2018. These flavored malt beverages are a response to millennials’ changing tastes and brewers’ desire to win over drinkers who don’t like beer.
A Strawberry-lemonade Marketing Solution
Anheuser-Busch’s response for Natty? A strawberry-lemonade flavored lager known as Naturdays. The sessionable light lager was created for summertime drinking, designed with a pink-yellow gradient and flamingos on the can. Like its predecessor Natty Light, its 4.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and low calorie count (132 per 12-ounce can) make it a beverage that can be consumed all afternoon. It’s the direct opposite of higher-calorie, higher-ABV IPAs and heavier craft beers, which aren’t as conducive to day-long drinking.
Image via Natural Light.
Under another name, Naturdays may have been just another fruity beverage in a long lineup of sweet-tasting, low-calorie, low-ABV drinks. But by using the Natty Light brand, Anheuser-Busch beer marketing efforts use a bit of nostalgia for millennials who want to harken back to their college days but maybe not drink a beer they never really liked the taste of in the first place. Since its release in February, Anheuser-Busch says it’s slated to sell almost three times as much Naturdays than they expected by the end of the year.
Long Story Short: Keeping up with consumers’ changing tastes and preferences is important for any brand. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the value of your existing brand or forget the customers who made you successful in the first place.
This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Joe McIntyre.