Bud Light is a brand on the advertising high board.
Normally, we'd wait to see the new ads in completed form before commenting. And we definitely will wait to rate this new campaign until we see it in finished form. But in this case, Bud Light has taken the unusual step of releasing teaser ads online, as well as running them on high-rated NFL playoff games, so they deserve a look. Here are two of them...
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Movie makers value "buzz" because it means getting prospective moviegoers talking about a new film by showing tantalizing snippets. Then folks line up at the theater on opening weekend and pay to see the rest. Hollywood's teaser ads work like a "free sample," long considered among the most powerful of marketing tactics. Prospective ticket purchasers actually get a taste of the product.
So, for the movie guys, buzz = box office.
But for a big brewery (and indeed, for many other marketers), the advantage of buzz about ads is far less clear. Since beer drinkers will inevitably see the commercials anyway, what is really gained by previewing them? It's hard to believe the Bud Light previews will make the commercials themselves somehow more effective. After all, they're not free samples of beer, they're free samples of... advertising.
Anheuser-Busch should know that buzz and beer don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. Budweiser created one of the most memorable ad campaigns ever in the beer business in "Whassup." These ads achieved buzz at unprecedented levels. The line was on everybody's lips, it seemed. Parodies were everywhere extending the reach of the advertising at no cost. But what the advertising clearly failed to do was halt Budweiser's sales slide. All that "buzz" ultimately failed the brewery.
But a more important question: Is buzz worth anything?