eltzers are truly having a moment. From the surprise success of White Claw to the highly anticipated Topo Chico branded seltzers, all kinds of breweries and brands are hopping on the trend of alcoholic seltzers. However, in order to stand out above the rest, it is important for brands to figure out the right way to advertise their products towards their desired target audience. For brands like Bud Light, the best way to stand out from the crowd is through memes. 

Bud Light is a brand offshoot of the larger Budweiser company, and promotes a beer with a lighter taste and less calories than its parent, Budweiser. Given the lighter taste of Bud Light, it makes sense that Bud Light was the brand to create a seltzer. However, by the time that Bud Light Seltzers made their debut, the seltzer market was overcrowded with a variety of different flavors, brand names and more. 

How did Bud Light get their seltzers to stand out above the rest? 

Bud Light used meme marketing to advertise their products to a compatible audience where they existed online. By partnering with large meme pages on Instagram, Bud Light was able to reach and connect with a large audience across the world that might be interested in their product. This type of advertising incorporated Instagram’s native network in a variety of digital meme campaigns––and resulted in strategic, branded content seen by thousands. 

However, meme advertising involves more than just widespread brand recognition for Bud Light Seltzers. In this piece, we explore what Bud Light did right (and wrong) in advertising their seltzers using memes on Instagram. 

  • Bud Light Seltzers created unique, meme content suitable for Instagram audiences. 

Right: By turning images of Bud Light Seltzers into static images partnered with a caption, they were able to utilize the standard meme format present on Instagram. This made the content blend with existing meme content on Instagram, therefore blending seamlessly into the layout of larger meme pages. This tactic is smart and generally well received by meme fans, this kind of content is familiar and expected on the feed so they will spend more time interacting with it. 

Wrong: For brands and marketers, testing a wide variety of content is an important step in identifying how your audience interacts online. For this particular advertising campaign, Bud Light Seltzers repeated the same piece of content on multiple meme pages, possibly resulting in lower sentiment because their audience spotted the branded campaign as an advertisement. 

  • Bud Light Seltzers partnered with large meme pages on Instagram to promote their new item. 

Right: The benefit of using larger meme pages is that brands are able to expose their product to a wide variety of people that are interested in a variety of different topics. This kind of exposure can increase brand recognition and product awareness, while building hype for future releases from a specific name. Larger meme pages are also highly shareable, making the branded content spread easily through the already-established network of followers.

Wrong: Despite the wide reach of large meme pages, there is a chance that the audience is not as engaged in the content. This is a trend seen across many larger platforms, from influencers to celebrities, and results in lower engagement on behalf of your target community. Alternatively, mid-tier and small-tier meme pages have less reach, but more dedicated audiences loyal to that particular brand name. Bud Light Seltzer could have utilized more pages that have specific niches to connect with their audiences in a more intimate way. 

  • Bud Light Seltzers experimented with different meme captions and post captions.

Right: This is a great way to figure out what style of messaging best reaches your audience. Instead of keeping the meme captions the same across the board, Bud Light Seltzers tested multiple iterations of content to gauge audience sentiment and engagement, and chose the best performing pieces of content to boost on larger meme pages. Using humor is a successful way to create memes, and Bud Light Seltzers advertised their products using a variety of different funny messages to do so.

Wrong: A different approach for Bud Light Seltzers would be to test out captions that actively address and engage the audience. Taking a page from popular influencers, Bud Light Seltzers could create captions that ask questions or encourage the audience to take a particular stance in regard to the product. For example, Bud Light Seltzers could have made a statement claiming they were the best seltzer, sparking a conversation in the comment section that users could actively engage with. 

What can marketers learn from this? 

Using memes is an innovative way to communicate with an increasingly digital audience. If most of your target user base is active online, speaking the language of memes can drastically change the trajectory of your digital advertising campaigns. 

Social media is always changing, so experimenting with different formats, trends and captions can give your brand better insight into the ways that your audience is interacting online. That way, your brand can figure out the best way to promote relevant products and content towards those specific users. 

Meme marketing is a cutting-edge form of advertising that is rapidly shaping how brands and marketers engage with their audiences. By speaking the language of digital natives, memes are an effective way to connect while sharing your branded message.

Do you have questions about how to effectively use memes in your digital campaigns? Send us a message to learn more about meme trends, culture and communication that can help your brand connect with your audience online.

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