This Bud’s for you ... and it’s free

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

With its brand sales sinking and its image losing ground, Budweiser is launching a new marketing campaign to freshen its image that involves pushing free beer and a more up-to-date Bud image to younger beer drinkers, according to a report in USA Today.

In order to appeal to the prime under-30 beer consumer group that has ignored the Budweiser brand, starting Monday the brewer plans to launch its biggest-ever national free-sample effort in bars and restaurants under the slogan “Grab some Buds,” the newspaper reports. The beer giveaways will culminate on Sept. 29, when Budweiser will host the “Budweiser National Happy Hour.”

Unit sales of Budweiser are down 9 percent this year and fell by the same amount last year, the paper reported, citing data from the Beverage Marketing Corp.

Beer drinkers have lost loyalty to Bud over the past seven years, according to the article. Upscale consumers have turned to craft beers, while price-conscious shoppers have traded down, and others have switched to light beers, USA Today said.