There’s a saying I once put into a new business Powerpoint deck that actually sounded like a saying: “Campaigns come and go, but a powerful branding idea is indelible.” To me this touches upon the problem with Anheuser Busch’s advertising over the last 15 years — no powerful branding idea. The Wall Street Journal today (6/13/08) reminds us of some so-called great Bud and Bud Light ad campaigns: Clydedales, Louie the Lizard, Spuds MacKenzie, “whassup,” Bud Bowl, Cedric the Entertainer and, more recently, “dude.” Beyond the creative hook, can anyone tell me what the branding idea is in these campaigns? I sure can’t. Therefore, the idea is the creative not the product, and that’s always a bad idea.
No wonder InBev – the company attempting a hostile takeover of AB — feels there is fat to be cut away from Anheuser Busch. They are right. Whoever owns the company should cut the Super Bowl budget in half and spend the $13 million saved on some special beechwood aging gizmo that proves superior taste claim. It will give all the dogs and horses and geckos something substantive to talk about.