Thursday, October 27, 2005

Buzzkill

It's a sad day for Anheuser-Busch when they can't even attract the cheap drunk: "U.S. brewers have been slashing prices in recent months in a bid to drive up volume, which has suffered as consumer tastes shifted toward wine and distilled spirits....'Discounting is not working.'"

Also, their strategy of smearing the family of a dead baseball player didn't seem to help the bottom line either.

As ripe as all this is for smart-assery, there's no delight to be had in this news. Aren't Budweiser and Michelob great American brands? Isn't this the last big American brewer? Doesn't anyone in St. Louis have any pride?

If people have turned to the more expensive option of cocktails -- a trend that is hardly news -- you could assume that price is not an issue. If spirits and wine can gain such wide acceptance without the luxury of TV advertising, you could conclude that maybe lounge culture, film and the popularity of TV gourmets have real power. And you could question why -- while all of that was becoming obvious -- Anheuser-Busch's own advertising was so out of step.

Let's see if there's a positive note anywhere. Searching...searching. OK. Here: "Anthem" might not be original, but like The Girl In The Moon, it works on some level and doesn't make me ashamed to drink beer in public. And oh yeah. That Budweiser logo, the one with the script B and the little crown? That's kinda awesome.

4 comments:

darkcoffee said...

Problem is the product, not the incredibly vivacious, creative, lovely, and intelligent people in advertising! Like Red Diamond after Starbucks came along -- microbrews let us know what beer really tastes like and it wasn't the King -- which is kinda made like Dr. Pepper.

Irene Done said...

There IS that. Which is probably why A-B's brand family gives us Budweiser Select, AmberBock, ZiegenBock and anything else that sounds as if it might not taste like, you know, Bud. Still, I think they've made strategic and creative mistakes that really damaged many of their beers. You know when you're at a game or a concert and you can only drink Bud, Bud Lite or Coors? Maybe it's just me, but ordering Coors makes me feel a little more grownup.

This Red Diamond you speak of -- is it really the South's finest?

darkcoffee said...

My grandfather would accept no other. I wonder who ran the Red Diamond advertising back in the 40s and 50s. Somebody did an amazing job.

Swedish Girl said...

A really funny beer commercial ran here in the UK a while back, promoting alchol-free lager.

British guys drink alcohol-free lager! They'd be horrified! Most of my friends can't even order half-pints for fear of looking un-manly.

So this commercial was all about Big macho guys emerging from white-water rafting, muscles gelaming, or mountain-biking around (presumably chased by grizzlies), while a Barry White voice growled: "If this is what your life is about, then this is your beer..."

Poor things. Probably didn't realise that what most British blokes life are about is "going down the pub".