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Culture Difference in Consumer Behaviour

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Budweiser was founded in 1876. As a leading brand of American lager, it now sells in more than 80 countries worldwide. Although beer is a common language in all nations, Budweiser’s success is inseparable with its customized cultural marketing communications. This short paper will compare the different marketing methods Budweiser used in China and in the United States in the year 2015.

In China, there is no festival more important than the Spring Festival. It has been celebrated for more than four thousand years by Chinese people. It is the time when families and relatives gather together, exchanging their greetings and wishing for a better new year. One ritual about Chinese New Year is gift-giving. Food and drinks are the most common gifts people buy during the festival.

Picture (1a) in appendix shows a marketing poster Budweiser used during 2015 Chinese Lunar New Year. It is very attractive with red being the background color and gold for the words. On the top of the poster, it uses a couplet where Budweiser’s slogan (Cheers for our dreams) being the central line of the couplet. The first line of the couplet writes as “A peaceful family and everything will prosper”, and the second line writes as “Realize your ambition in the year of goat”. The Budweiser’s brand logo and Chinese name fall under the couplet. At the bottom part of the poster, there are three bottles of Budweiser beer and a fire balloon. Each of them has a goat shape on it.

Red has been a traditional Chinese festival color and it will always be. It delivers the message of happiness and prosperity. Not only the lanterns but also the cover of firecrackers is red. Gold is considered exclusive and carries a cachet. In ancient China, only the Chinese royal family can wear or use the color gold. The colors of the poster were wisely picked by Budweiser’s marketing team, which precisely reflected the Chinese festival atmosphere.

A couplet is composed of two lines of poetry that are of equal length and identical rhyme. Every Chinese family will buy a couplet and stick them on their doors before the new year comes. It is highly symbolic of the Spring Festival. It conveys the good wishes people have for the coming year. Budweiser successfully associated their product with the festival. They make it like that without Budweiser, it is not a complete Chinese New Year.

According to lunar calendar, there are twelve zodiacs represented by animals, and each year there is a different one. It repeats in a twelve-year cycle. The Chinese Zodiac originates from a myth of animal racing. The order of the year is determined by the ranking of the racing. Year 2015 is the year of goat. Therefore, the goat figure in the poster reinforces Budweiser’s link with the festival. The fire balloon is a metaphor of upgrading to a better level of life. Picture (1b) shows a six-can limited edition bundle with aluminum bottles. Picture (1c) shows the normal twenty-four-can box.

The poster shows great marketing skills overall. It understands the key cultural characteristics and builds a strong link between the customers and the product. It is targeting everyone in the consumer market. Even people who do not consume beer themselves, they would consider Budweiser’s beer a perfect gift for families or relatives during the Spring Festival. Budweiser even differentiated the market with the limited-edition versions. They are targeted specifically for gift-giving.

Story becomes very different in the United States. The video (2a) in appendix shows a TV commercial that Budweiser did during the Super Bowl game in the same year 2015. The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League. It has frequently been the most-viewed American television broadcast of the year. In 2015 there were about 114.4 million viewers.

The video tells a story of a curious puppy got lost in the big city and had to find his way back. With the help of his protective buddies (horses), he eventually returned to his loving master in the ranch.

The timing for the commercial is golden although it is costly. It gained maximum exposure. Watching the Super Bowl with family is an American culture, and it is appropriate for Budweiser to have their beer commercial during the time. It delivers the message that everyone should have a Budweiser beer while watching the game.

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