Brands Capitalize on Election Year

When a hot topic consumes the public, it brings forth a host of opinions, debates, publicity, and interest. It’s all everyone talks about–or so it seems. Election years bring nonstop conversations and media attention. Few people escape election years without being bombarded with advertisements, commentary, or discussions about an upcoming election. Therefore, brands that integrate their way into everyday discussions can create more exposure.

Election years can stifle company advertisements as candidates flood media outlets in the pursuit of gaining supporters. However, election years can elicit new ways for brands to create recognition–as long as they tread lightly. Brands must be careful that their message doesn’t appear to take sides. They have to be creative enough to incorporate an election theme, but appear unbiased in the process. Some brands are doing just that.

Chrysler is using two actors who played presidential roles, one in a TV series and another in a movie, to promote two of its new vehicles. takes a light approach with its Captain Obvious mascot running for president. The advertising storyline takes the mascot to all 50 states in a series of commercials. Pop-Tarts is heading a Pop the Vote campaign. JetBlue launched its “Reach Across the Aisle” ad, showcasing how compromise can help reach resolutions, using rows of red and blue that represent political parties. These are just a few examples of clever ways brands are capitalizing on the election.

By using a topic that is at the forefront of consumer minds, these brands resonate with consumers. Election years bring tense competition and nonstop messages. Consumers may find it refreshing to address such topics in a lighter tone. Brands that bravely tackle such hot topics could reap the rewards.

Top Five Sports Team Brands

Recognizable and popular brands bring tremendous value to a company. Consumers gravitate to well-known brands because they feel that the products provided by those brands are trustworthy. After all, they wouldn’t be popular if they weren’t, right? At least that is the logic that many consumers have regarding brands. As consumers, we often choose our groceries and fast food items based on the brand name. For instance, if we want a cheeseburger, we know numerous available fast food restaurants that serve cheeseburgers (e.g., McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and others). We also know the different taste, size, and cost of those cheeseburgers. We have become familiar with the brands and often base our purchasing choices on the products we know those brands offer.

While recognizable brands often include the food we eat, brands exist for a variety of other purposes. One of those is entertainment in the sports world.

Sports teams rely heavily on their brand in order to entice fans to attend games and purchase memorabilia. Heavily advertised brands are likely to do better than those less advertised. Providing a plethora of memorabilia (such as clothing, cups, key chains, and more) with recognized logos and brand names also helps raise brand value. The more recognizable a brand name, the more a team can charge for tickets and products. Winning teams also raise the bar for brand recognition, which increases the value of the brand.

According to Forbes, the top five most valuable sports team brands in 2015 were as follows:

  1. New York Yankees with a $661 million brand value.
  2. Los Angeles Lakers with a $521 million brand value.
  3. Dallas Cowboys with a $497 million brand value.
  4. New England Patriots with a $465 million brand value.
  5. Real Madrid with a $464 million brand value.

These numbers identify value based on brand, not necessarily the worth of the brand or the team in general. This means that the brand name alone can provide much value in generating revenue and recognition for a team. Therefore, the more visible the brand, the more valuable it becomes. As you can see, the most popular sports team brands range in sport type – baseball, basketball, and football.


Budweiser’s Temporary Brand Change: A Gamble or a Smart Strategy?

It’s not often that a company temporarily changes its brand. Changing a brand is a huge gamble. It’s a gamble because consumers typically do not like change, becoming accustomed to the look, products offered, and reputation of particular brands. Therefore, brand changes can cause confusion and concern that a product has changed as well. However, Anheuser-Busch has recently taken that gamble.

In May of this year, one of the biggest brewers in the world has decided to try a new tactic to attract consumers. In an effort to spike lackluster sales, Anheuser-Busch announced its intent to temporarily change the brand of one of its most popular beers, Budweiser. Taking advantage of a political year, patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July, and the summer Olympics, the company is strategically timing the brand change. The company announced that the temporary change from “Budweiser” to “America” will extend from May to November, when the elections end.

While changing a brand can prove risky, the brewer is banking that consumers will readily recognize the design as Budweiser. Although the words have been changed on the label, the design and colors are decidedly that of Budweiser’s. In fact, at first glance, a consumer would likely associate it with Budweiser. However, confusion may occur when consumers pay closer attention and realize that the name is different. This may lead consumers to question whether it is a knockoff brand from another company or whether the beer itself has changed in taste.

The company hopes that the “America” rebranding effort will appeal to consumers’ patriotism. However, immediately upon its announcement regarding the change, consumers flocked to social media with negative comments, especially given that the company is not based in America. Despite this fact, Budweiser has consistently remained the “All-American” beer, so the idea of rebranding it “America” may not be so far-fetched after all.

Another risk of rebranding typically includes high costs, especially for large corporations. However, Budweiser is one of the biggest advertisers in the America. It spends millions of dollars on advertising each year, spending more than $275 million on Super Bowl ads alone for the past decade. Therefore, it seems its rebranding effort pales into comparison. The company’s rebranding announcement has sparked numerous articles on the Internet, garnering it more publicity with little effort on its part. The more publicity a company receives, the more recognition it gains and the more it remains on the forefront of consumers’ minds. For the actual design of the rebrand, it is likely that the costs are low considering the company is using a recognized label and simply making minor changes, specifically replacing words.

With a continuing decline in sales and increased competition in craft breweries, Budweiser has to try new ways of enticing its customers. According to Forbes, Budweiser ranked #25 among the brands with the highest value in 2015 at $23.4 billion, with sales of $10.9 billion. Therefore, the costs of rebranding will not likely harm the company, making the gamble worth a try, even if it doesn’t generate the returns the company hopes to gain. It will be interesting to see how the change affects sales by the end of November.