Anheuser-Busch’s Bob Lachky just gave an entertaining presentation at the ANA of how Anheuser thinks about advertising creative. He played many of the old ads, including a few that never ran like a Wisconsin-themed version of the “Wassup?” ads that had various midwestern guys all saying “Hey dere.” Goofy but pretty trite. I can see why they never ran it.
I’m surprised by how defensive he was of A-B and beer in general at the beginning of the presentation. He started out by throwing up a slide of A-B’s dominant market share in the United States, and taking a dig at the recent announcement that SABMiller and Molson Coors were merging their U.S. operations. “I’m not sure how they’re going to find ‘$500 in cost efficiencies’ and all that nonsense.” He said. “But be sure, that means shutting down breweries and laying off people.” He also defended beer’s position against spirits, a category that has been growing strong in the last five years. “You say, ‘Let’s go have a beer.’ You don’t say ‘Hey, let’s go have a Singapore sling together,’ Do ya? If you do, you’ve got problems.”
During the question period at the end, ANA head Bob Liodice asked him to talk about his thoughts on Bud.Tv, Budweiser’s multi-million dollar online content site (I’ve expressed my own feelings on this blog). Lachky responded he thought it was “an audacious move” but “flawed.” “There was no end-game…what is the purpose of [Bud.Tv].” He elaborated: “I don’t understand why you’d have bud.tv and not have anything branded at all that had nothing to do with beer, and our brands. When we finally put “Swear Jar” on Bud.tv, people got it.” He also criticized the onerous entry process: “We had too much of a gate to block people to get in, people can go anywhere on the internet, why would they want to be submitting their driver’s license…are you crazy?”
With that, my laptop battery is about to kick off. More later.