The promotion will see every single bottle and can of Budweiser - some 400 million SKUs - labelled with a unique code. Drinkers can text the code to a number, and will receive a return text that tells them how many Bud Bucks the code is worth. Each bottle has a minimum of five Bud Bucks, but figures can go up to 100 bucks per bottle - as well as a few "golden tickets" worth much more.
Once a consumer has their Bud Bucks they can log on to new website www.budbucks.co.uk, where they can use the bucks to buy merchandise, play games, or bid for music, travel and sport-related prizes, such as power boat racing in Miami and a ski trip to Aspen, in an Ebay-style online auction.
The promotion is targeted at 18 to 24 s, and group brand controller Vicki Kipling said Anheuser-Busch research has found that students spend 20 per cent of their waking hours online. "There is this perception that particularly students don't have much money, but actually they have huge amounts of disposable income - they just accept that they are going to leave university broke," she said.
"As a brand the way we need to build a relationship with them is to be where they are spending their time, and talking to them in a manner they want to engage with."
Kipling is talking to retailers about creating tailored versions of Bud Bucks for retailers, in which consumers could collect Bud Bucks in the same manner as spending reward cards. "It is totally flexible so we can run it as a national, on or off-pack promotion and we can also tailor it to specific outlets," she said.
The promotion will be backed up by POS and an ad campaign due to run in March.
Beer in brief
Coors has launched three speciality beers: Zatec, a 4.6 per cent abv Czech pilsner available in 33cl bottles; Palm, a 5.4 per cent abv Belgian ale, brewed in Steenhuffel, north east of Brussels, available in 33cl bottles and designed to be served in a traditional "bol" glass ; and Grolsch Weizen, a 5.3 per cent abv wheat beer from the Grolsch brewery in Holland, which will be available in 45cl Grolsch swingtop bottles.
Wild's of Weobley has launched two organic bottled lagers: Wild Night and Wild Blonde. They come in 33cl black and blue swingtop bottles, and were produced after brewery founder Pete Wild went on a regional Dragon's Den-style programme looking for people who were interested in high quality, stylishly packaged organic beers.
Everards is sponsoring the Leicester comedy festival fringe for the fifth year running. The festival runs from Feb 9-18. Everards marketing head David Bremner said: "We are delighted to be supporting the Leicester Comedy Festival through the Everards Fringe and hope to provide some fantastic entertainment, helping Leicester maintain its status of the leading comedy city in the UK."