Rhetoric for Business
17 September, 2013
Budweiser or Coors?
Living in a college town, one can hardly go a block without running into either a Budweiser or Coors beer can on the ground. The appeal of these products is ever present in the neon lights that blanket Iowa City’s downtown area. These two companies presence are not new to the area or our culture as a whole. Bud Light and Coors Light are two of the most popular beers sold in the United States and hold a place in American history. For over half a century now light beers have been the more affordable and healthier way to enjoy a brewed beverage. Though the companies differ in their history, both use rhetorical tactics to persuade consumers that they have the better product. Now in the midst of football season, both will market toward the game but Budweiser takes a simplistic strategy while Coors markets to many more sports and offers free giveaways to lure more consumers.
Budweiser went through many physical changes throughout their history until they became what we know them as today. The creator of Budweiser, Adolphus Busch though originally from Germany brought the company to St. Louis and which faired extremely well for many years until the start of prohibition. The hit they took from alcohol becoming illegal and the Great Depression almost closed their doors but they persevered and were able to stay open until they could begin selling their beers again. They entered prosperous times again but were eventually bought out by InBev who made a few changes. In 2008, they reportedly changed the hops and rice used, in order to save money. Since the changes were made to the recipe, their reported sales have been on the decline.
The creation of Coors has a very similar start to their business in brewing with their origin and hardships. The Coors Brewing Company also hails from Germany, but was created by Adolf Coors and his partner Jacob Schueler who he quickly bought out for sole ownership. Coors also ran into trouble during prohibition, but switched their production plants to making near-beer and malted milk for candy bars. Soon after prohibition, Coors went back to brewing and released the first official light beer. Budweiser soon copied with their own light beer creation. To this day, Coors beer is still owned by the Coors Brewing Company and is number two in beer sales in the USA.
Although both companies have grown from small breweries to massive corporations, advertising is still what drives their product. Both product websites take an instant focus to an audience of those over the age of twenty-one by requiring you to enter your date of birth before they will even show you their website. Also, neither site is reaching towards the older generation of drinkers by the way they lay-out their website.
Budweiser’s use of imagery and football create a simplistic website. When I opened the Bud Light website huge bolded letter scroll across the screen declaring that Bud Light is “the sure sign of a good time.” Then a massive brown bottle scrolls past with condensation dripping and ice chips to show that it is cool, and refreshing. Once the bottle has passed, the page rests on a blue football jersey with an array of red and white across it. The jersey reads “the most powerful superstitions in the game” referring to what people believe help make their football team win games. On the side of the page is an image of a band playing music and people dancing with the saying “Bud Light is hosting the biggest musical events of the summer and you’re invited.”
From the opening of the website, I can tell that the goal of the website is to connect to your emotions. They used pathos by connecting the love we have for our football team to their product which they had previously made seem ice cold and delicious. They know nothing is more American than football and the fact that the jersey was red, white and blue makes us think of our pride for our country. Budweiser is using demonstrative rhetoric “tribal talk” to make consumers feel like we are all American and in this together. Budweiser has been a part of this country for so many years, and is itself almost a symbol of the greatness of America. They know that they don’t need to state that their beer is the best or slander their competitors because for decades they have sold the most beer. They show their character with the simplicity of their website, coming across with a “you already know who we are and what we sell” mentality. This rhetorical ethos tactic is affective because we have all seen their product in our daily lives, and figure if our friends and family trust it, it must be credible.
The Coors website successfully uses a number of sports, visuals, and incentives to draw in consumers. The first thing that the eye is drawn to is a beautifully scenic mountain and sitting at the base of the mountain is a football filed with a roaring crowd and players decked out in Coors Light football pads. Above the players head, it says “kick every game off with a cold one” written in an icy font. Just to the left is a bottle of their Coors product explaining their creation of the Cold and Super Cold activators which tell you when the beer will be enjoyed the most. The tabs at the top of the website link you to other sports like FIFA, NASCAR, and NHL [of which they proudly state that they are the official beer of.] For NASCAR, Coors Light has their own Mrs. Coorslight who seductively markets their product. The only tab not sport related goes to their “innovations” in which they offer for a chance to win a Coors Light vending machine when you buy a case of their beer.
From the start, the Coors website is crowded with persuasive tactics but it does it in a tasteful way. Though they also connect to consumers through football initially, they do it in a more effective way. By placing the line of sight in the huddle of the players, they make us feel like a part of the team and connect more emotionally to the game and therefore their product. This change in our emotion is a step in Cicero’s steps to persuasion which needs to be followed by getting them the willingness to buy. Being in with the football team gives consumers a sense of comradery with the team, and like everyone has experienced, people are more willing to buy when it’s friends selling, instead of strangers. Not everyone, however, is a football fan. Coors intelligently recognizes this and markets their product to other sports to entice all types of fans into believing that Coors is the beer for them. Within their NASCAR advertisement section Ms. Coorslight doesn’t say anything, but persuades male viewers via seduction. Marketers know that her appearance and beauty become a correlation consumers make when thinking of Coors. They also persuade consumers by incentivizing them to buy their product with the opportunity to win a vending machine. Just like the lottery people get drawn in to spend money in hopes of winning these grand prizes. This strategy is great for the company because it arouses emotions while getting their brand name across.
Ultimately, both companies are able to manipulate their audiences’ desires and feelings through their rhetoric marketing techniques and usage of logos, pathos and, ethos. Both Budweiser and Coors placed their focus on pathos in changing consumer’s mood to view their product in a better light, but Coors took it beyond that. Unlike Budweiser who relied on their name and past to keep them on top, Coors used a combination of rhetorical tactics aimed at many different groups to make their website more persuasive than their competitor.
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