Monday, August 21, 2006
Bud Branded Content: BDF
The marketing e-newsletters were all a buzz this morning with news of Anheuser-Busch launching "a new production department" that will create branded sitcoms and spoofs to be used on the Web and on mobile devices (http://adage.com/article?article_id=111379).
More over, folks who work for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing shops, production companies and post shops were sheepishly laughing that "A-B can't do this...they'll screw it up and come calling us to fix it."
People "close" to the situation were saying that putting AB creative-guru Jim Schumacker in charge was a sign that AB "meant business."
Actually, people who know anything about A-B were saying, "BFD."
Here's the deal...the real deal. Anheuser-Busch has had an in-house television/broadcast production group in place for a long time. It's called BSN (Busch satellite Network). This group of producers, camera men, editors, etc. spend their days producing original content about upcoming marketing efforts, company news, new products, that is then broadcast to their 500+ wholesalers around the country. It has a complete run of schedule that also includes video highlights from sponsored events as well as presentations from Sr Management.
BSN has been underfunded and misused. The fact that A-B is realizing where the group's value truly lies was only a matter of time. Anheuser-Busch didn't get to their position overnight...and they're not going to jump a marketing trend without considerable research and understanding.
Jim "Schu" Schumacker will do a great job with this group...but my biggest question is planning. While A-B does all their own media buying...I don't think they do their own planning...or any planning at all.
Great content in places where no one cares is useless content. Their ability to get this content in the hands of the elusive 21-27 year-old male is key to the success of this group. Anheuser-Busch has stayed clear of community network sites such as YouTube & MySpace due to the lack of age restraints. Will they drive people to a unique site? Or are partnerships in the works with media mainstays like Sports Illustrated, Maxim and Rolling Stone?
As for competitors who are hoping to gain marketshare from A-Bs plunge into "film making", this will be an interesting play to watch. A-B has consistently led the marketing war, often times out-spending their competition if not out-thinking it. Will this be move that once again pushes A-B back into the forefront of the domestic beer battle, or will this be another distraction like the theme parks, Eagle snacks, etc?
I wouldn't be surpised to see a rash of "partnerships" between spirits companies, brewers and companies that provide exclusive content...let's face it, we usually follow the leader.
Thoughts? Please share...
This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man