Budweiser embraces ‘Bones & Bud’ meme with life-size beer pillow

Dive Brief:

  • Budweiser has tapped into a Halloween meme featuring 12-foot skeleton figures that quickly sold out at Home Depot. The Anheuser-Busch InBev brand is selling oversized body pillows shaped like Budweiser bottles for people who want to take part in the “Bones & Bud” meme of attaching them to the skeletons for social media posts, per details the brand shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The oversized skeleton figures, which Home Depot sold on its website and in stores for $299, have appeared in Instagram posts and stories, including those shared by brands such as Slim Jim snacks and Natural Light beer, along with celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian.
  • The social media posts show how brands are quickly responding to trending memes and participating in those conversations. As Halloween nears, the 12-foot skeleton figure may show up in more memes, including those with the Budweiser pillow.

Dive Insight:

Internet memes can be powerful ways for brands to increase their exposure on social media, especially if they act quickly. For Budweiser, that means touting the body-size pillows that have shown up in pictures of the 12-foot skeleton figures that have taken social media by storm. Home Depot, on the other hand, may not have anticipated how popular a $299 Halloween decoration would become. There is now a strong aftermarket on EBay and Amazon, where listings show the item for as much as $1,500 plus $400 shipping.

Budweiser, Slim Jim and Natural Light are among the brands that have recently parlayed an internet meme into their promotions with positive results. Ocean Spray this week received positive press coverage and commentary on TikTok with its response to a viral video made by Nathan Apodaca. The Idaho resident’s laid-back clip that prominently featured Ocean Spray and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” struck a nerve with TikTok users, who shared the video millions of times, giving the brand free publicity. Ocean Spray responded by giving Apodaca a new truck filled with its products, and collaborated with him on a new video that also went viral. Ocean Spray’s gesture shows how brands can harness viral publicity for a positive effect if done right and swiftly.

With the pandemic disrupting Halloween celebrations this year, brands like Budweiser are looking for ways to reach consumers, many of whom haven’t shown diminished enthusiasm for the occasion. Sixty percent of consumers expect to spend the same amount of money on Halloween this year as they did in 2019, per a survey by Insight to Action. The researcher estimates the average consumer will spend $89 on Halloween this year, a few dollars more than last year’s average of $86 estimated by the NRF.

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