Last weekend was incredible, to say the least. One dynasty secured their place in history, while another came under attack due to a commercial. That's right, I am going to talk about the Budweiser ad—buckle up.
First things first. It's a good commercial—they got everyone in the beer world talking about it. As Oscar Wilde said, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."
I asked Carl what his take was on Monday. When I came to him, I felt like the way many craft brewers did—attacked. I told him, "I can't believe they would pick on the little guy like that." Carl gave me some perspective, "They are owning who they are. I mean, Budweiser is the product who made them who they are. We respect where we came from, so its refreshing to see a big company going back to their roots." This made me do some research, and begin to look at the commercial in a new light. The entire text from the ad is this:
"Proudly a macro beer. It's not brewed to be fussed over. It's brewed for a crisp, smooth finish. This is the only beer Beechwood aged since 1876. There's only one Budweiser. It's brewed for drinking. Not dissecting. The people who drink our beer are people who like drinking beer. To drink beer brewed the hard way. Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We'll be brewing us some golden suds. This is the famous Budweiser beer. This Bud's for you."
It's a mission statement. It is describing Budweiser plain and simple. Nowhere in this ad does it call micro breweries stupid, overrated, or a threat. They are simply saying this: "We aren't small, we make a product everyone knows, can drink easily, and its been consistent in taste for well over a hundred years— just enjoy one. If you don't, that's fine too. We are Anheuser-Busch, and are proud of who we are."
The two other big things that have been being hit on in all the articles I read about this ad are:
1. Showing "hipsters" smelling a beer, or the people sharing a flight.
Yes, not all of us can have big eyeglasses like I do, but obviously we don't all just sit there and smell beer with curled mustaches and sip from 5oz pours. The same way not all Employees or CEO's of Anheuser-Busch are suited up millionaires with red eyes who conspire and work so the little guy fails. It is just type casting, and honestly, if this is the first time you have seen it in a commercial, then you haven't seen very many commercials. Craft brewers have been taking shots at AB and other macro-breweries for years. Why have they ignored them? Because people continue to buy their products. This ad wasn't an attack, it was a statement that they are proud to be separate from craft beer, just like we're proud to not produce simple light lagers.
2. The Pumpkin Peach Ale part, where—wait a minute! They own a company that makes that, and they just bought it!
The whole Pumpkin Peach Ale thing isn't in bad taste, really. Have you ever heard of one? If you have, great—most people haven't. I know I hadn't until then, and now I want to try one now. This line from the ad made me look it up, find out Anheuser-Busch recently bought Elysian, which makes this Pumpkin Peach Ale. Budweiser got most people to look up a company they just bought!
If you had just bought a little known brewery that only distributes statewide to eleven states; and internationally to a few other countries. Wouldn't you want people to find out about this beer? Even if you have to play the bad guy, people know about it now.
Coca Cola owns many brands as well, such as Barq's Rootbeer, Fanta, Mello Yello, Poweraid, and Sprite. Most Coca Cola ads are claiming that Coke is the best— they don't promote any other Coca Cola products.
The main point I want to get across is that this was just a commercial. This job wouldn't be challenging and fun if it wasn't competitive. Budweiser may have taken a shot at craft beer, but that's fine—they didn't come over to slash our tires so we couldn't deliver beer. They provided their opinion of their company, and left it for the public to decide which product they want.
In some ways, craft breweries have big titans like Anheuser-Busch to thank. They have made light beers the norm in bars, and people crave things that are different, helping us move away from light beers and towards sweet pumpkin peach Ales, robust coffee porters, and the balanced complexity of The Smoked IPA. But there are times when people just want an old standby like Bud—a beer that is familiar, easy to drink, the same anywhere you get it, and reasonably priced. When that time comes, that bud is for you. For the other times, when you want to elevate your drinking experience, grab yourself one of the the many profound craft beers. They, too, are for you.