Anheuser-Busch decides it will just give Budweiser away for free

By Rebecca Cullers on Tue Sep 28 2010


Flagging sales have caused Budweiser to declare Wednesday as "Budweiser National Happy Hour." Bud will hand out free samples from six ounces all the way up to 12, where the law allows, in "trendy bars and eateries." The goal is to appeal to the under-30 set who, according to Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., have adopted craft beer the way Gen X adopted wine. Bud's ranking among national product brands (not just beer) has dropped from 16th in 2003 to 220th in 2010, and Budweiser unit sales were down 9 percent last year. At the same time, craft-beer sales rose 9 percent in the first half of 2010, and craft brews nearly doubled their market share in 2009 (from 4 percent to 7 percent). Of course, free beer is only Bud's latest strategy. I think Anheuser-Busch will see a lot more success in continuing to buy small craft brews and distribute them without any Budweiser mention. Shock Top and Hop Hound, two of A-B's suds, are rebranded craft brews. Even if it's free, the only way you'll get die-hard craft fanatics like me to try Bud again is to change the recipe.

Beer brands scorned for poor English-to-Spanish ad translations

By David Kiefaber on Mon Sep 20 2010


As incomprehensible as a lot of beer ads are in English, they are apparently even worse when translated into Spanish. Michenelle Groller, a Brooklyn Spanish teacher, joined other Spanish speakers in calling out beer advertisers in this New York Post story for poor translation and general ignorance of the Latino consumer. Groller says badly translated ads are "not only misleading, but mostly offensive," adding that "if they were written in English, they would have never made it past the planning stages." Specific complaints are directed toward Budweiser (whose "Tomabilidad" isn't a real word), Coors Light (whose "Emborícuate" has the same problem), and Corona, which invites drinkers to "Más una fría que beer," which literally translates to "More one cold what beer." Given that Corona is headquartered in Mexico, that one's hard to excuse. This just looks bad for all companies involved. How expensive can a few competent translators be? Considering how much has been said about the growing Latino consumer base and the need for consistent outreach, one would think they'd try harder to not screw it up. Maybe their creatives have been skimming from the vats a little too much.

McDonald's, Budweiser help you show your U.S. soccer colors

Posted on Thu Jun 24 2010


There's no better way to celebrate yesterday's victory by the U.S. soccer team than with virtual face painting. Thanks to McDonald's, I was able to mock up my portrait in honor of Landon Donovan & Co. The effect leaves a bit to be desired. I look somewhat like a Mexican professional wrestler, but maybe you'll have better luck. You can also try out a similar app that Budweiser has launched on Facebook. And if you're one of those people who complains how boring soccer is, go Elf Yourself.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Commercial viewers enjoy more Beatles songs than ever before

Posted on Mon Aug 3 2009

Most Beatles fans would probably agree that Michael Jackson was relatively cautious about lending the band's songs out for commercials. At least you could say that Jackson, who bought the Beatles catalog in 1984 for a mere $47.5 million and who owned 50 percent of that catalog when he died (Sony owned the rest), showed more restraint than A&M Records did with the Beach Boys ouevre. (Who can forget how "Good Vibrations" was once used to sell Sunkist soda?) Which brings us to this DDB London ad for Budweiser, which features a reworked version of the Beatles' "All Together Now." The ad, presented from the vantage point of a London Chicago train, matches the simple lyrics "1, 2, 3, 4 can I have a little more ..." with items in the landscape (the "4" is on a sign on the side of a building, for example). I never would have put the Beatles and Bud together, but the ad works well enough. In 1987, when Nike used the Beatles' "Revolution" in an ad, there was a tremendous uproar, from Paul McCartney and others. But now, using songs from the Fab Four in commercials is apparently no big deal. Hell, some of these songs are going on 50 years old anyway.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Heineken's ads becoming a lot funnier than Bud and Bud Light's

Posted on Thu Apr 2 2009

When it comes to laugh-out-loud TV commercials, Budweiser and Bud Light get all the props. But one beer brand that's stepped up its game, though it often goes unnoticed, is Heineken. The slightly skunky-tasting import dropped the pretentious act a number of years ago and has positioned itself as an everyman's beer—albeit a superior one. (It even got Zoolander into the act.) Its latest ad in heavy rotation shows women getting excited about a closet full of shoes, only to be drowned out by men screaming about a closet full of beer. The spot surely looks like a page torn out of the Bud playbook, but frankly it's a hell of a lot funnier than any of the aimless "Drinkability" ads that Bud Light has been airing. Still, neither Bud nor Heineken created the best beer ad of all time. That honor goes to Guinness.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Great (and troubled) minds think alike for Wazoo and Budweiser

Posted on Mon Mar 23 2009

The ad on the left, for Topps' Wazoo candy bar, is pretty clever, in an out-there kind of way. But it's also somewhat familiar. Could it be that the marketer and its ad agency are cribbing from the trippy Budweiser "Taste Bud" commercials (right) that aired in the late 1970s? The similarities are pretty damning. Both ads feature a group of guys who are supposed to be taste buds and are dressed in outfits that are dead ringers for the sperm suits that Woody Allen and others wore in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. Come to think of it, that movie really nailed the idea in the first place when it showed a group of workers inside a man's stomach cleaning up after some fettucine.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

'I Love You, Man' brings whole Bud Light universe to the screen

Posted on Mon Mar 2 2009

Peter Klaven is a successful real-estate agent who's getting married but has no best man. Peter embarks on a series of "man-dates" in search of his perfect match, who ends up being Jason Segel (an actor now appearing in nearly every comedy produced). The movie, called I Love You, Man, might end up being a laugh riot, but one thing bugs me. Every time I see the trailer, I wonder just how many Bud Lights the writers had. Not only did they borrow the movie's title from a Bud Light ad, they borrowed the entire premise (let's call it awkward man love). In the Bud Light ads, which aired in the mid-'90s, "Johnny" breaks down and tells everyone from his dad to Charlton Heston that he loves them. They treat him with disdain, mostly because he's just doing it to get his hands on their beer. This makes me wonder how long it will take before Budweiser's "Whassup?" becomes a movie. Starring Jason Segel, of course.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Obama will share a beer with Hannity, as long as it's Budweiser

Posted on Tue Feb 10 2009

Apparently, the goons at Fox News are all atwitter about the possibility of President Obama having a beer with Sean Hannity. It's hard to see why Hannity would want to pal around with someone who the Fox anchor says cavorted with terrorists, or why Obama would want to legitimize an angry and increasingly irrelevant right-winger. But so be it. The real brand news that came out of this whole fracas is that Obama is apparently a Bud man—a brave stand these days, given the mounting criticism of the brand's nefarious Belgian origins.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Anheuser-Busch finally punished for selling to the dirty Belgians

Posted on Fri Jan 23 2009


The Belgweiser Rebellion is upon us.
  The GuyProps Network has been rallying Facebook fans (102 strong) and the press (BrandFreak) to take part in a "Super Beer Boycott." The organizers are taking aim at Anheuser-Busch, calling the company un-American in light of its acquisition by Belgium brewer InBev.
  Ground zero for the revolution is the Belgweiser Rebellion site, where we are treated to some terrible singing and a moderate amount of cleavage. The group's manifesto lashes out against price increases, U.S. layoffs and the punishment A-B employees have been forced to endure (namely, InBev allegedly eliminating a perk of two free cases of beer per month). Another source of outrage: No more free beer tastings at Busch Gardens and Sea World.
  "Shamu just isn't the same without a free beer!" the group said in its official statement.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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