Promotional Packaging is for the Weak and Desperate

I was in the Portland (OR) market earlier this week when I saw a stack of green and yellow Bud Light-ish product.  It made sense to me since I just saw a commercial promoting Bud Light Lime in cans.  When I got a little closer, I noticed that it wasn’t Bud Light Lime, it was regular old Bud LIGHT.  And then there was a stack of product next to it that had orange and black Bud Light cans.

WTF?

Oh, I get it… these are for College Football season and it’s for the University of Oregon Ducks (green and yellow) and Oregon State Beavers (orange and black).  Here is a photo of the LSU version (purple and yellow) can.

This is wrong on so many levels:

First, it is marketing to college consumers.  I’m personally not so worried about can designs leading to over-consumption as mentioned in this AJC piece, but it is marketing to a demographic that is largely under legal drinking age.

Second, this seems like a sign of a desperate brand.  Is Bud and Bud Light really at the point where they need to change their packaging every quarter to get consumer attention?  Even worse, they’re changing their packaging in multiple markets around the country.  Talk about bastardizing the brand for a short-term lift!

Finally, changing the colors of their cans regionally is a huge sell out.  If I’m an Oregon State Beavers fan, the Ducks are my enemy!  So am I going to have an allegiance to a brand that is sitting there saying “we love both teams!” No! I’m going to think it’s a brand with no conviction and is a total sell-out.

Which is why Bud and Bud Light are slowly dying before our eyes.

Promotional packaging is a sign of a weak and desperate brand.  Don’t be a weak and desperate brand.  Don’t be lazy, sell out and rely on short-term promotional packaging to make your brand appear to be “with it.”  It backfires every time.

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