The Michelob Effect

When I was a kid, I used to see quite a few ads for Michelob beer. They advertised on TV in the 80s quite a bit, so much so that in my head, I had placed the brand as the #4 beer, behind Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. It’s crazy how well ads work on you as a kid, but that’s a tangent. Anyways, after a certain amount of time, I stopped seeing ads for Michelob on TV, or anywhere for that matter. Ads for Bud, Miller, and Coors didn’t disappear, and ads for many other brands of beer started to appear, but I no longer saw any ads for Michelob. So, I assumed they went out of business.

Flash forward to the middle of this decade, and all of a sudden, I’m seeing TV ads for Michelob again. Lots of them, in fact. Hey, that company didn’t go out of business. Wait, it’s a not a separate company, but a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch? Well, I’ll be damned. What has their marketing department been doing for the last 15 years?

The point of this post is not my lack of knowledge in beer brands, or to hate on Michelob’s marketing department, but that Michelob, by heavily investing in an advertising medium for a long stretch of time, and then, at least in my eyes (I’m not sure that they actually did), pulling out of that medium for an even longer amount of time, created the illusion to me of them going out of business, when in fact they didn’t. By not advertising via television (at least that I watched) anymore, they still communicated an advertising message to me: that they didn’t exist anymore.

It’s important to remember that an advertising strategy is a long-term commitment to a communication channel with your customers, and that once you decide a certain advertising medium is something that works for your company and invest heavily in it, customers expect you to commit to that channel, basically forever. So, if you stop, you’re still communicating to your customer though the channel, but what you’re communicating is that you don’t want to talk to them anymore. This is as important with television ads as it is with a Twitter account or a website. If you’re putting that communication channel out there, you should be ready to cultivate and maintain it forever.

2 thoughts on “The Michelob Effect

  1. Tim

    I don’t honestly remember the Michelob commercials from when I was younger, but I can say that if there was one company/brand that did this and I recently came to the realization that they are still operating is Delta. I remember seeing them in airports and competing with the big boys (American, Southwest, Continental, etc) in all mediums and then, as if it was over night, nothing. I only noticed them recently because of the big ass sign they have in center field at the new Yankee stadium. Did this lead me to try and get a flight using Delta when I recently went on a trip – no! If anything it concerned me that I didn’t realize they were still operating!!!

  2. Casey Winters Post author

    Yeah, Delta is certainly another good example. Heavy ad presence with the “You’ll Love The Way We Fly” campaign then radio silence.

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