For the first time in many years, the iconic Budweiser bottle will see a major makeover—special red, white and blue packaging for a limited window this summer.
The new design comes in advance of a summer initiative in which the brand will contribute a portion of all sales from May 20 to July 7 to help raise as much as $2.5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation*, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country.
The patriotic bottle, which comes with one of five decorated bottle caps, features the brand's iconic bowtie as its focal point. Budweiser cans and secondary packaging also will convert to red, white and blue for a limited time, beginning in mid-May and continuing until mid-July.
"It's going to be a red, white and blue summer for Budweiser—most visibly in our packaging but more importantly in our philanthropic support for the families of America's fallen heroes through the Folds of Honor Foundation," says Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch. "Our partnership with Folds of Honor is helping to make a difference in the lives of families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all hold so dear."
This year's patriotic packaging will be available in 8-, 12-, 16- and 24-oz cans and in a 12-oz glass bottle, 16-oz plastic bottle and 16-oz aluminum bottle. The patriotic theme continues on secondary packaging for all of the top-selling configurations, including 6-packs, 24-packs, 30-packs and other popular sizes.
McCarthy says other components of Budweiser's "Red, White and Blue Summer" are:
• "Walk Off a Hero": There is no more exciting play in baseball than a walk-off, when the home team wins the game in the bottom of the final inning. This season, Budweiser is making the moment even more special by helping to change the lives for families of America's heroes through the "Walk off a Hero" program. Budweiser will donate $5,000 for every walk-off (the equivalent of one scholarship) during baseball's 2012 regular season to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
• 2012 Olympics: Budweiser is the official sponsor of Team USA during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games; in June, the brand will unveil a 16-oz aluminum bottle with the Team USA logo.
• NASCAR: Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet, will spotlight a special Budweiser red, white and blue paint scheme for races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27), Michigan Intl. Speedway (June 17), Kentucky Speedway (June 30), Daytona Intl. Speedway (July 7), Pocono Raceway (Aug. 5) and Watkins Glen Intl. (Aug. 12).
• Flag Day Sampling: Budweiser wholesalers will hold sampling events for the brand in mid-June, including on Flag Day itself, June 14.
The summer program for Budweiser is a major expansion of a patriotic packaging initiative that had great success for the iconic brand last summer.
"Last year Budweiser had its best summer in many years with our special red, white and blue can as the catalyst during June," McCarthy says. "We have expanded and improved this packaging this year."
*Maximum donation of $2.5 million includes $5,000 for every walk-off in select 2012 professional baseball games and portion of sales for every case of Budweiser sold May 20 to July 7. For details, visit www.facebook.com/budweiser.