Anheuser-Busch, brand owner of the beloved U.S. consumer icon BUD and other frosty libations, has a new plan to get you to drink more of their golden suds.
According to the article published by Ad Age on August 21, 2006:
“Launches In-House Film and TV Production Company
Net and cellphones
The country’s largest brewer is launching its own in-house film and TV production company that will make humorous shorts and sitcom-type programs to be broadcast over the Internet and to cellphones, according to four people familiar with the matter, and could branch into full-length films.
While A-B has dabbled in content before — particularly in sports TV, where its Bud Productions division recently produced National Football League preseason games for the St. Louis Rams — this initiative is believed to be the brewer’s most ambitious by far. Funding will likely be drawn from its $1.56 billion marketing budget.
Jim Schumacher moves
Earlier this summer, A-B pulled VP-Creative Development Jim Schumacher — its top in-house creative — out of the advertising department and into the new production group. “The fact that Schu is leading this means they’re serious about it,” said one person familiar with his new assignment. “They wouldn’t be wasting his time otherwise.”
So, just a day apart from the Ad Age story that we discussed here about not over-hyping new marketing vehicles like blogs, RSS and mobile phones we see one of the strongest marketing innovators (I’ll leave the taste of their beer out of it) moving in with a very strong Internet play. A-B has a $1.56 BILLION dollar marketing budget so I expect to see some great ideas flowing out of St. Louis.
What will they be experimenting with?
Likely the kind of famed humorous content we’ve seen over the years on their Superbowl commercials. Expect it to have a highly viral and edgy feel, going way beyond what they’d be comfortable doing on T.V., as A-B looks to become the Youtube darling of the month. And expect them to offer similarly viral mobile phone content, paired up with wireless coupons inducing the harried mobile consumer to try the latest A-B libation, while using the location technology in mobile phones to show the wireless user where their closest liquor store is.
What I DO NOT expect A-B to do is launch fictitious blogs supposedly hosted by rabid Bud guzzling consumers. No, A-B doesn’t make those kinds of mistakes, and the head-honcho Jim Schmacher, an elite ad guru, won’t likely botch the job.
What are we to make of news like this when faced with stats from companies like Keller Fay whose recent study (this link is a PDF download of the study) has been oft quoted (92% of conversations about brand occur offline)? What do you think think people are saying about your employer brand in those offline conversations? Do you think you’ll have a better chance of influencing those conversations with word of mouth marketing like A-B, or will an ad in your local newspaper have a better chance of nudging passive job seekers in your direction?