Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Obviously I am not in Budweiser's target audience

In about an hour, Americans who are suddenly interested in soccer will turn their attention to Brazil, in which the United States and Belgium will square off in an elimination match.

Needless to say, advertisers are salivating at the chance to advertise in advance of this match, and Budweiser is in a prime position to seize the opportunity.

Budweiser could have aired a very funny commercial today. I can just imagine it. The commercial opens with a bottle of Stella Artois and a bottle of Budweiser, sitting next to each other on a football/soccer pitch. In fact, the words "soccer" and "football" (or "voetbal") could even appear in the ad, to accentuate the difference. A corporate executive could then nervously approach the camera.

As the employees of Anheuser-Busch InBev watch the match in Brazil today, we sincerely hope that...that the best team wins.

Such an ad would be witty and creative, and I personally would love it.

But such an ad wouldn't sell beer in America, so that's why people in the United States are seeing this ad instead. And yes, the ad is labeled "HYPE."

Yes, it's your typical Budweiser ad...well, maybe a little more over the top than your typical Budweiser ad. As Dan Carson describes it:

Featuring fireworks, motorcycles and the company's trademark fleet of giant horses, the ad is a nonsensical montage of things Americans ostensibly like.

Bikini-clad woman on a surfboard? Throw it in there! Fireman chopping wood? You know it! Horses backed by fighter jets? They're coming for you, Belgium! Rock, flag and eaaagle!

Now that's how you sell beer. Well, at least it would work in the pre-social media world.

But Budweiser forgot that when you share an ad like this via social media, people can use that same social media to comment on the ad. Carson himself offered the following observation:

This ad had me pumped me to the point where for one shining red-white-and-blue minute, I forgot that InBev—the company that bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008—is based in Belgium.

Womp womp.

Yep, it's a bit of a buzzkill realizing your adrenaline gland just pumped out four quarts of American pride over a commercial ultimately benefiting our Belgian overlords.

And it's even worse when the unknowing, whipped up by Budweiser into a patriotic frenzy, respond with a "Go USA" chant. For example:

The bar I'm at in Boston doesn't carry @Budweiser products...needless to say I will be watching #USA elsewhere

The tweeter got a response to that.

(And by the way, Miller is a foreign-owned beer also.)

Of course, Budweiser can - and has - argued that the beer itself is brewed in the good old USA, regardless of where the Euros are counted. Unless, of course, you count the original Budweiser beer, but since the Czech Republic isn't even in the World Cup, Anheuser-Busch InBev dodged that particular obstacle.
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