Budweiser Super Bowl Commercials and Bad Drivers

About 10 days ago, it was Saturday January 22nd (generally you remember those dates), my girlfriend and I were driving en route for a beautiful snowshoe trip. Few minutes before arriving to our destination, a driver completely burned a red light at an intersection and drove right into the front left wheel of my girlfriend’s car. The result was a 70-kilometers-difference accident. Few moments later, the car was wrecked, but most importantly we were miraculously OK, surrounded by Police officers, Firefighters and the emergency ambulance squad. I didn’t took pictures of the accident, I was too occupied living the moment and tried to help everyone implied in the accident, even the other driver who ran into us. Was this guy on alcohol (supposedly no!), was he on drugs/medication (it mainly looks like, since he first refused to go to Hospital after the accident, but I couldn’t confirm). Hours later, I was getting back to normal, and like in the cult movie The Big Lebowski, I simply wanted to yell at the other driver the F-word. Is that reaction noble-minded? No! Should it be? You decide!

Budweiser Ads during Super Bowl

So what is the link of my car accident with Budweiser Super Bowl Ads? Not a lot, except that it creates a awkward contrast and that Super Bowl XLV is this Sunday February 6th 2011 and I need to be alive to enjoy these commercials and continue blogging. Moreover, I don’t understand why from a ROI perspective Amheuser-Busch, the company behind Budweiser, should buy five spots during the Super Bowl (three 30-second Bud Light spots; a 60-second Bud spot and a 60-second ad for its import, Stella Artois, for more on the topic, you can read this USA Today article on Super Bowl ads, and see a “sneak” of the Budweiser Super Bowl XLV 2011 ads below)? Here is my take in three points explaining why 5 spots are too much and why 2 or 3 spots may be more optimal!

1. Awareness is already topped

Most people watching Super Bowl associate the event with Budweiser ads anyway! One ad for the Stella Artois and one for the Bud Light lime or a more girlish beer would be enough, especially if there is a link to the Budweiser website at the end of the ad, where other cool ads not shown during Super Bowl can be found. Also, it would create more scarcity and make these ads even more special.

Furthermore, awareness for the Budweiser classic beer is already topped for most people, if you like it, you consumer it, if you hate it, you don’t consume it, but most importantly, you already know it. Personally, I always enjoy these ads, but last time I tasted a Budweiser beer, my reaction was that it tasted like “s**t”, and I guess I’m not the only one. On the other side, awareness for the Stella Artois and the Bud Light lime could still be improved, this is why I would keep these spots.

2. Buzz can be easily generated

Completely abandoning Super Bowl ads for Budweiser may not be the best idea, however, at the end of each spot, referring people to the Budweiser website would be a great idea. The buzz would be easier to create than for any other ad seen on TV this year.

The Budweiser horses are back this year for Superbowl XLV
The Budweiser horses are back this year for Superbowl XLV

3. Putting money elsewhere – Diversification maybe the solution

Saving money from a 3 million dollars 30-second spot may leave money for other activities. Diversification in packaging, diversification in flavors, even though the classic Budweiser is a best seller, it’s a topped bestseller. Investing more money in R&D and diversification would be a better idea than on these ads. For more on successful product diversification, I propose to enjoy the classic TED presentation (see video below) of Malcolm Gladwell discussing the Howard R. Moskowitz diversification strategies in the food industry with a special focus on spaghetti sauce.

Conclusion

Some might say the savings in millions of my humble propositions are nothing for a company like Anheuser Busch? My argument on this one, is that any money saved and better invested is great for the company. In conclusion, Budweiser Super Bowl ads are always nice to watch anyway. A great beer is still part of a great party. However, responsibility is also part of a great party. To relate to my first portion of this post, don’t drive if you drink too much, enjoy life and enjoy the Super Bowl XLV!

Cheers,

Jean-Francois Belisle

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Comments 2

  • Jean-François,
    what you are saying is that you would recommend a different marketing mix (the 4 or 5P). Right?

  • Well, there are mainly two things I’m proposing, both related to brand portfolio allocations. First, diminishing the amount of money spent on advertising by cutting a part of the money spent on broadcasting Superbowl ads on TV, and instead investing a portion of this money, let’s say 50% of what is cut, on buzz creation and maybe creating more videos. Second, the other portion saved (the other 50%) could be invested in either R&D or product diversification (i.e. packaging, change in flavours). I understand there would be a lot of branding issues related to diversification too. In summary:

    – Publicity: Decreasing and modifying the budget allocated to advertising, focus more on online buzz than TV ads.
    – Product: Reinvesting in R&D and diversification.

    What do you think?

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