Thursday, March 8, 2007

Social (Network) Drinking

Can an online social network help sell beer? That's what Anheuser Busch is hoping for. For the last 18 months, Anheuser Busch has been running a campaign called "Here's to beer" which promotes the entire beer industry (not just their brands) and it is focused on highlighting the positive, social aspects of beer drinking. For the next stage of this campaign, Anheuser Busch wanted to team up with an online social network to continue the push on beer growth.

The driving force behind this new strategy for Anheuser Busch is the fact that in 1995 beer sales were at an all time high of 61 percent of the entire market when compared with hard liquor and wine but ever since it has been on the decline and in 2005 it only had a 57 share of the marketplace.

The research group of BlueLithium, the second largest US online advertising network, last year came up with the idea for MingleNow - an online social network organized around the offline world. Following a private beta last year, BlueLithium is making a big push with MingleNow this year. Its goal is to have 2m active users by the end of 2007. The evolution of the Here's to beer is a promotion called "Clink" that encourages people to upload photos of themselves clinking beer glasses with others. Those with the most photos win prizes and trips.

As Anheuser Busch and MingleNow continue work together and utilize web 2.0 technologies, maybe they can rebuild beer's dominance in the market and help build MingleNow at the same time.

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