Swedish Beer Challenges Budweiser’s Tagwords campaign with Hijacking Ads

During the Cannes Award ceremony this year, Budweiser’s “Tagwords” campaign designed by Brazilian agency “Africa” won the award Grand Prix for publishing and print. The campaign encourages people to Google for different images of Budweiser’s place throughout musical history across the years. If people follow the Tagwords instructions, they get images of musicians enjoying their own Budweiser.

Interestingly, a Swedish brewery called Norrlands Guld saw this Cannes win as an opportunity to boot their own social standing and improve their online presence. After Budweiser won the Cannes award, theAkestam Holst agency bought any AdWords campaign that popped up when people began to search for the phrases in Budweiser’s campaign. The purchased ads now appear at the top of Google search engines and tell people to stop using their phone and start enjoying a Norrlands Guld beer.

Hijacking Budweiser’s Success Through AdWords

The idea of hijacking a successful campaign to boost another company’s success isn’t a new one. By purchasing AdWords based on Budweiser search terms, Norrlands Guld has emerged as just one of the latest brands to take advantage of the “hackvertising” strategy. Recently, this form of advertising has begun to grow in popularity among consumers who enjoy the cleverness and banter that arises between rival brands.

Often, when a company engages in a hijacking campaign, they also generate a lot of social buzz from people commenting on the event. The result is a heightened level of social media conversation — perfect for driving brand engagement and awareness. For instance, fast food chain Wendy’s is a great example of a company that regularly uses Twitter to take playful jabs at competitors like McDonald’s. Sassy remarks and comments coming from Wendy’s are helping the company to rack up new followers every day.

Wendy’s and other companies like it are starting to recognize the potential success that comes with having fun with both their audience and their competitors. Today many customers associate Wendy’s with clever marketing stunts.

Norrlands Guld Takes Things a Step Further

While there’s nothing different about brand rivalry in an ad campaign, Norrlands Guld takes the concept a little further by hijacking the functionality of Budweiser’s ad campaign. Burger King also used a stunt similar to this when they launched their “Google Home of the Whopper” strategy which also won the direct category Grand Prix in 2017 Cannes awards. The Burger King commercial featured Burger King employees asking Google about Whopper burger ingredients.

The speech in the Burger King campaign was able to actually trigger the audio search function in Google assistants throughout consumer home devices. The devices heard the statement and read from the Wikipedia entry aloud — which the fast food company’s team carefully tweaked beforehand.

As interesting as the Norrlands Guld advertising stunt might be from a marketing perspective — it could spell a lot of frustration for Budweiser who have been struggling to drive more sales among their younger consumers lately. Recently, Budweiser stopped being one of the best-selling beer brands in the USA, thanks in part to the fact that many millennials and younger consumers prefer to focus their attention on imported beers and craft beers instead. As a legacy brand — Budweiser needs to be as creative as possible with their branding if they hope to get any attention going forward.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR.

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