Dilly Dilly? Why Bud Light’s Catch Phrase Has Yet To Pay Off

Matt Clement

Written by Matt Clement

March 20, 2018

Bud Light’s Dilly Dilly campaign has been one of the most buzzworthy campaigns over the past few months, with the ads being mentioned nationwide as a creative and humorous success. “Dilly Dilly” has become synonymous with the approval of an action, specifically if that behavior involves drinking a Bud Light. Here you will find the initial ad which launched the campaign.

As you would expect, the initiative is taking off digitally. In an interview with Beer Business Daily, Andy Goeler, the VP of Marketing for Bud Light, recently stated that there are now more than 300,000 Google searches for Dilly Dilly, the Dilly Dilly hashtag has been used more than 66,000 times on Instagram, and Bud Light has seen a 6 percent improvement in the share of organic social media mentions within the beer segment.

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With such popularity, The Dilly Dilly campaign is being compared to the hugely successful “Whassup?!” campaign, which gained similar fame in the early 2000s for the Budweiser brand.  If you are having a tough time remembering the Whassup?! campaign, you can find a refresher here:

The goal for the Dilly Dilly campaign is two-fold according to Goeler: “Step one is trying to get people’s attention back on Bud Light.” Step two is “getting it into people’s hands.” As 2018 wears on, Goeler said, Bud Light is “very focused” on converting all the talk about the brand and Dilly Dilly into sales, Beer Business Daily wrote.

This focus on sales seems necessary, as the campaign which began in August has yet to materialize into a reversal of Bud Light’s decline in sales. Comparing January 2018 sales to January 2017, Bud Light volume was down 6.8 percent, according to Nielsen data. (Coors Light volume was down 3 percent and Miller Lite volume was down 0.6 percent during the same period.) Those numbers are rough, to say the least. It’s intriguing to look back at the aforementioned Whassup?! campaign, as its effect on Budweiser was similar, it didn’t materialize into a positive trend in regards to sales. So this all begs the question of why have the cultural phenomena of the “Dilly Dilly” and “Whassup?!” failed to materialize into a more promising financial situation for their brands?

I would surmise to say that when someone goes to the store, the “Dilly Dilly” campaign isn’t going to get someone to choose a Bud Light. For a beer market that is becoming more refined by the day, beer is being purchased for its perceived flavor. Looking at Bud Light’s creative, it seems that Goeler has made a push to highlight the distinctive characteristics of the light lager but not on the same mass scale as the more entertaining Dilly Dilly campaign, as Dilly Dilly ads were the chosen ones for their Super Bowl spots.

A More Impactful Way?

In the time that Bud Light has gone through the Real Men of Genius, Up for Whatever, and now Dilly Dilly campaigns, another drink company has paved a different path, this being Red Bull.

I know that I am not comparing apples to apples here, but there are similarities in terms of market pressures. Both have faced increased competition over the past 20 years, with Bud Light definitively facing more from an overflowing craft market. Red Bull though has had to face the backlash of the perceived health effects of energy drinks, which Bud Light has not had to deal with. Most importantly, in comparison to its competition Red Bull continues to lead the pack, whereas Bud Light has fallen from its perch as one of the leading beer brands.

Red Bull creates intriguing content, but instead of a focus on humor or time among friends, as Bud Light has done, the brand creates content which revolves around mind-blowing feats. Here you will see an example of Red Bull’s latest videos:

The main difference between the two in their content strategy? If you look back over the past twenty years, the Red Bull brand is prominently displayed by almost every athlete who is doing the mind-blowing feat hence creating a subliminal perception that this individual is a Red Bull drinker.  In essence, the entertaining content is still primary but there is a tie back to the overarching story that Red Bull will help you do something seemingly unbelievable (like grow wings). Bud Light’s story regarding its product, unfortunately, has been a little bit all over the place.

In conclusion, even though we sit in a more fast-paced environment than ever, where viral content seems to be the goal for every marketer and content publisher, sticking to a consistent brand story that connects to the value of a product or service still wins the day.

About Nxtbook Media: We create guided, branded storytelling experiences for marketers and publishers alike. Feel free to check out samples of our new brand storytelling software here. Additionally, we have an in-house agency that can help you craft your brand story, NXTCreative.

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