Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beer Profits Drop. Could it be the Packaging?

I have been tracking the beer industry for a while and am wondering why they just don't "get it" in their marketing efforts. They continue to fail to package products that are appealing to seniors and women. It’s not just the calories that make this product less appealing to women and seniors (even with an overflow of tasteless low carb, low calorie introductions).

The product offerings simply don't "connect" with a target audience other than men. Now that's a great marketing ploy. Market to men, but guess what? By doing this they miss more than 50% of the potential market. It's not going to get any better no matter how many "beer bimbo" advertisements they generate. With all the beer giants scrambling for a market share, it is remiss and an opportunity lost not to market to women and seniors.

This headline compelled me to explore the subject a little more.(Anheuser-Busch Q1 Profit Declines.) It seems that beer hasn't been able to move beyond the traditional male oriented marketing campaigns. Beer sales in general have been on the decline while wine sales are on the upswing. I could give you dozens of examples of new wine products targeting women and seniors with their product packaging. The package is using everything from cute and cuddly creatures to exotic and romantic offerings.

Wine has really gone "niche" in their product development, even wines that are offered in pink packaging (Ugh.) But the upsurge in wine sales has proven that the packaging works. Hopefully, the beer industry will take notice. I wrote about clever ways to market wine to women in my article "Wooing Women with Packaging." If you need a copy it's in the "Best of The Diva" Part # 1 available athttp://packaginguniversity.com/pkgustorefront.htm

Aside from the hullabaloo about what material the beer can or bottle should be made from some interesting new concepts in beer packaging are starting to surface at last.I found this one particularly appealing from a branding perspective.(New Belgium Brewing Introduces the Summer’s Most Flavorful and Figure-Friendly Beer: Go ahead and reveal a little more this season! Skinny Dip, New Belgium Brewing’s newest seasonal beer, sheds its calories and carbs while sporting a full-bodied flavor, ranking it as the coolest choice for a figure-friendly and highly refreshing summer beer.)

Other new packaging includes Heineken's keg can for the fridge, which gives people draft beer at home. But, seriously, as much as I love beer, I'm not going to buy it in a keg except for a special occasion.

Move over coosies... (Coors Light's "cold in hand" innovation, the Cold Wrap Bottle, is a fusion of rocket science and Rocky Mountain cold refreshment. Each Cold Wrap Bottle has a 360 degrees label with Outlast(R) technology to keep beer colder longer by helping to keep the heat of a drinker's hand away from the beer. Outlast(R) Thermocules(TM), the same high-tech insulator developed for space travel, actually reflects the heat from the hand, making the cold refreshment inside the bottle last longer." ) No more warm beer. Now that's innovation.

I'm sure there are more exciting innovations that I'm not aware of. I did run across several fruit flavored beers and I can really get excited by Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, mmm chocolate. But for the most part, beer better get connected with the two largest demographic audiences with their product packaging (seniors and women) if they expect future profits and not losses.


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