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Challenger marketing still the best approach

If you can't outspend them, what do you do? Well, you outsmart them. Last Friday, which was #InternatinalBeerDay, you'd expect a corporate as big as ABinBev would totally own and have a field day.
© Mattias Diesel via Unsplash.com.

A brand is what it does and doesn’t do. Whilst we tend to focus on what brands do, just as significant is what a brand or company decides not to do. More often than not, not doing anything results in missed opportunities. That is exactly what happened when on #InternationalBeerDay, ABinBev decided to keep quiet.

To beer or not to beer

With ABinBev not driving the conversation or narrative around #InternationalBeerDay, that left a window of opportunity for someone else to take the day by the malt and run with it.

For whatever reason, ABinBev did not take advantage or try to leverage this incredible occasion, a missed opportunity. So, they decided not to beer on International Beer Day. Which is a strange decision considering that they are one of the biggest beer corporation in the world – this is like 1st For Women Insurance keeping quiet during the month of August (wait, actually, I haven’t seen nor heard anything from 1st For Women Insurance *thinking emoji*), but that’s none of my business.

With ABinBev deciding not to beer on this day, an unlikely competitor owned the conversation, so much so that they flipped the narrative. What was meant to be a day to celebrate beer, Edge decided turn focus towards the opposite direction.

Hops and bravery

It takes balls, I mean hops and a proactive marketing team to take on any giant. Totally unexpected but makes perfect sense why Hunter’s Edge would challenge beer drinkers on International Beer day.

Whilst many were celebrating #InternationalBeerDay, Edge decided to take the conversation in the opposite direction by asserting that in place of beer, there needs to be something novel and perhaps better. That assertion was encapsulated in the form of the hashtag; #BoredOfBeer. People were asked to comment on beer posts using the hashtag, #BoredOfBeer.

Makes sense:
In simple description, Edge is a cider that has hops extracts; hence ‘The satisfaction of beer. The refreshment of cider’. This is no ordinary alcohol beverage. At product level, it challenges the status of quo by bring both beer and cider into one. So, it makes perfect sense why they’d challenge those who are beer drinkers to ditch beer as it is boring in its current state.

The result

People, in an attempt to win, were pledging their allegiance to Edge, exclaiming that they too were tired of traditional beer. Traditional beer drinkers felt the need to try something new:

People were posting that their usual beers with the hashtag, #BoredOfBeer (Beer drinkers are so disloyal).

Beer drinkers ‘taking a stand against the same old drink #BoredOfBeer.

People pledging to try somethingnew, because they are #BoredofBeer.


As a strategist; whether it’s on a small or big scale, I like seeing brands being more active and proactive in an attempt to try new things and be more aggressive. As mentioned above, a brand is both what is chooses to do and not do, and therefore it is imperative for marketers to also think about all the ideas that they choose to kill or not act upon. What are the implications for missed opportunities.

I’m still not sure why ABinBev let a cider company own a beer conversation, and not only that, beer drinkers, albeit for a short period, turned their back on beer. It shows how fickle the category is and why it’s important to maintain a strong share of voice and presence.

Brand need to act with intent and not let things happen organically.
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About Bogosi Motshegwa

Bogosi Motshegwa is a strategic planner at Thinkerneur, a brand strategy consulting firm and is Advisory Council Member at Vega School of Design | Brand | Business. He is a brand consultant who specialises in but is not limited to, brand, digital and communication strategy.