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4 Memorable Product Gimmicks of 2011

Bud Light's Writable Labels

Bud Light's Writable Labels
You didn't think Bud Light was about to get out-gimmicked by Coors, did you?

While Coors Light has built its brand around low temperatures, Anheuser-Busch (BUD) has always sought to position its flagship light beer as a uniquely social animal that brings people together and fuels endless good times. Just look at its dual slogans, "The sure sign of a good time" and the vaguer "Here we go." To that end, it's created a gimmick bottle of its own in the form of a label you can write on.

The label has a small section where you can scribble out messages by applying pressure with a key or coin. In the commercials, revelers are seen using the label to scribble out their names, phone numbers or, for some reason, a picture of a football. This is dubbed "the latest innovation in social networking." Another commercial has two bachelors inviting loads of beautiful women to their party by handing out bottles inscribed with their apartment number. In a press release announcing the bottle, the company explains that it "allows adult beer drinkers the unique opportunity to add their own personal touch to the bottle."

Now, we don't really have a gripe with the company giving drinkers the chance to let their creativity run free. And we can kind of understand why it would be useful to scratch your name on the bottle if everyone at the party is drinking Bud Light and you want to remember which one is yours. But the other applications seem pretty limited. Are people really going to start sharing phone numbers at bars by writing on each other's bottles of Bud? You can't exactly stick an empty bottle of beer in your wallet, and it's a lot easier to just tell the other person your number so they can put it in their phone. Oh, and if you find yourself drawing pictures of footballs on your bottle of beer, you're probably not at a very fun party.

Agata Kaczanowska, a beverage industry analyst with market research firm IBISWorld, says there's a simple reason why light beers such as Coors Light and Bud Light tend to use this sort of gimmicky packaging.

"[Light beer] is really the most homogenous product that the beer industry has," she says. "They don't differ much in price or taste and they have very similar brewing processes, so they're creating a way to differentiate their product and associate the brand with fun."

The good news is that Anheuser-Busch has (for the moment) turned its attention to improving the product inside the bottle rather than the bottle itself with Bud Light Platinum, but who knows if it will be anything special.
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