WWTT? Bud Light Promotes #OpenForTakeout During COVID-19

We’ve all heard about breweries and distilleries making hand sanitizer, as well as automakers producing medical equipment. But for this week’s “What Were They Thinking?” I have something a little different, but important: a campaign from Bud Light that supports the restaurant and bar industry, badly hit by COVID-19.

March 2020  which felt like it was a year long  is finally over. However, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over; many of us are staying at home under order of our local, state, or national governments, and doing the best we can personally and professionally. Through it all, it’s been uplifting to see communities come together to support each other (of course, while practicing the phrase of the year: social distancing), as well as the myriad brands stepping up and away from business as usual to also do their part.

We’ve all heard about breweries and distilleries shifting production to hand sanitizer, as well as automakers realigning their plants to produce the much needed medical equipment that healthcare workers need. These are such important stories, which have been covered a lot (as they should be). But for this week’s “What Were They Thinking?” I have something a little different, yet still important: a campaign from Bud Light in an effort to support the restaurant and bar industry, badly hit by COVID-19.

Our local restaurants and bars feed us; give us a place to come together with friends and family; and they make up so many of the important small businesses in our communities. While some have had to shutter, there are others who have managed to stay open (again, depending on local and state regulations here in the U.S.), offering takeout and delivery options. And this is where Bud Light steps in.

On Mar. 25, Bud Light debuted a new campaign, “Open for Takeout.” Powered by Bud Light, the new website encourages those establishments still open within the restaurant and bar industry to submit their info to be included on the website. The site’s focus is to help consumers across the U.S. locate spots that are #OpenForTakeout, while still practicing safe social distancing.

While money might be tough for a lot of people right now, there are those individuals who do have the spare cash for a takeout meal, which means Bud Light using their extensive reach can go a long way in extending the reach of the restaurant and bars they aim to help.

For me personally, there are at least 157 restaurants or bars within a 10-mile radius of my ZIP code, which gives me a lot of options after being cooped up all day in front of a computer and having no desire to cook (it happens from time to time).

Bud Light also is diverting some of their media spend to drive awareness of this consumer resource, offering added visibility for #OpenForTakeout, and their parent company, Anheuser-Busch has the following initiatives planned to support other COVID-19 efforts:

  • $5 million donation to the American Red Cross, as well as the donation of media air time to the Red Cross for PSAs.
  • Working alongside sports partners, Anheuser-Busch will identify available arenas and stadiums to be used for temporary blood drive centers.
  • The company’s tour centers in St. Louis, Mo. and Merrimack, NH will be made available to the Red Cross.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s supply and logistics network will produce and distribute bottles of hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer will be used at Red Cross blood donation centers, as well as in an effort to support shelters for future relief efforts.

This partnership between the macro brewer and the Red Cross is, again, just another example of brands stepping away from business as usual, and considering what they can do with the resources and talent they have to play a role in the fight against the pandemic.

As for Bud Light’s initiative, this is personal for me (and I’m sure many others). I’m fortunate to know a lot of wonderful people in Philadelphia’s vibrant food and drink scene, and it crushes me to see so many of them out of work, many fighting to obtain unemployment, uncertain of their futures, and the restaurants and bars that once employed them facing the heartbreaking question of if they’ll ever be able to open their doors again.

I hope Bud Light’s Open for Takeout campaign truly helps those in the restaurant and bar industry across the country who are still open and feeding their local communities.

And finally, in my previous post from a couple weeks ago, I looked at two well-done email messages about COVID-19 that hit my inbox. Some readers shared publicly in the comments, as well as privately in emails to me, about what they had worked on and the response received, as well as about some of the good pieces they received themselves.

Feel free to keep commenting, and send me messages about what you’ve seen and done as well. As I’ve said, now is the time for sharing good news, and celebrating the little victories.

Clean Up After Yourselves, Marketers

You know what can really suck? When a piece of marketing is spot on … until it isn’t. Let’s look at a couple email examples and see what went awry.

You know what can really suck? When a piece of marketing is spot on … until it isn’t.

Let’s take a look at this email from American Red Cross … I’m a blood donor, and I regularly receive emails from the nonprofit, alerting me about blood drives and more. And hey, when the subject line is “MELISSA, This is Your Week’s Best Email,” it’s got to be good, right?
Red Cross email
All right, this email is definitely on brand for me … photo of a puppy hugging a kitten? Check. Photo of a baby seal with a super cute smile on its face? Check. Let’s read on.

Red Cross emailOhmigod that puppy is so happy look at that … wait a second.

Red Cross Email CloseupIn the final paragraph, the email reads: As an AB donor, MELISSA, your help is especially important.

Oh really? I’m an A+ donor.

I’ve been donating blood off and on for the past 18 years. I’m registered as an A+ donor. So where did they get AB?

Look, it’s not the end of the world, but the incorrect personalized data stopped me dead in my tracks. And no, I didn’t schedule a donation in May.

And in April, a reader forwarded me the following email he received from Inc.:

inc-emailThe reader (who asked me to not share his name) let me know that, while Cornell University might hit the Inc. 5000 requirements, he does not work for Cornell. He’s also not an officer of trustee of the university. He is an alum (Go Big Red!) and an active volunteer, and sure, maybe his email address is @cornell.edu.

But so are the email addresses of a lot of Cornell students.

The lesson to be learned from these emails? Clean your lists, marketers. According to Experian Data Quality, dirty data costs marketers approximately 12 percent of their revenue. It makes you look bad, can cost you a sale or at least get people talking about you in ways you didn’t want them to do.


How to Get Memorial Day Email Marketing Right

Memorial Day means different things to different people, but some of the email marketing I haven’t been seeing in my inbox bothers me a little.

Memorial Day means different things to different people, but some of the email marketing I haven’t been seeing in my inbox bothers me a little.

It’s a 3-day weekend, and the unofficial start of summer. There’s plenty of sales to promote with red, white, and blue highlights. Lots of beach towels, barbeque grills, food. And yet …

Last year I had to scramble to find examples of email that recognizes that Memorial Day was originally about honoring the sacrifices of soldiers who died serving our country.

This year was no different. The best emails were truly few and far between.

Publix emailMany used a patriotic image to get attention, like the one in this email from Publix, the supermarket chain. It says some nice things, but that’s about it.

It misses an opportunity to further engage shoppers.

Vinesse emailBut Vinesse, one of the country’s largest wine clubs, hit all the right notes a few weeks ago. This promotion centers on a special offer for Purple Heart Red Wine from C. Mondavi & Family, a Napa Valley brand. Proceeds go to the Purple Heart Foundation, a group which help veterans recover from wartime injury and trauma.

Here’s a key connection for me: Peter Modavi, Sr. served in World War II. And the two winemakers are more recent veterans. The email explains this, and with the strong visual, inspires a bit of patriotism.

American Red Cross emailI also liked this one effort from the American Red Cross that went out yesterday. It acknowledges that Memorial Day “also heralds a much more solemn occasion”: remembering our soldiers.

The letter goes into all of the ways that the Red Cross’s services have an impact. Picture like the ones here show a lot of what it does for military service members around the world, as well as veterans, and families.

And, the email links to a video showing its work, and ask people to share it. The only ask for a donation is in the P.S.

So, you can either acknowledge the holiday’s true meaning in a big way, a respectful way, or not. Maybe the best thing to do is to just pick one, and move forward.

As for me, I’ve got a cemetery to visit, and a promise to keep.