Tuesday, February 3, 2015

About That Ad

The pitch seems to have hit a much more fevered tone in the last few days than usual. I guess it has something to do with this Budweiser Super Bowl commercial...

Admittedly I am something of a johnny come lately to this particular party because I didn't see the commercial until the furore was in full swing on Twitter. I am not a fan of American Football, a phrase which could easily be the understatement of the year, so I wasn't watching the game and thus couldn't get my knickers in a twist at the appropriate moment. Ah well.

Yesterday though I took a few minutes to sit down and watch the commercial, and I actually quite like it. It's well made, tells a clear story, and takes a few well aimed jabs at the perceived snottiness of many a craft beer aficionado, well played Anheuser-Busch, well played. Be honest, we all recognised people we know in their depiction of people fussing over their peach pumpkin ale or whatever the hell abomination they referred to. When I watched the ad for the first time I was reminded of a scene in The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer where Max and Alan kidnap a craft acolyte from a bar...

Now, I am not going to go down the path of hand wringing about how that nasty big corporation is being mean to the little breweries that it is intent on buying up, because such a narrative (admittedly the dominant narrative it seems) misses the entire point of the commercial. It is also a flawed narrative because it conflates the Budweiser brand with the AB-InBev company. Let's get one thing straight, Budweiser is just one brand owned by AB-InBev, and this commercial was for the brand not the company behind it. Remember, Elysian, 10 Barrel, and Blue Point were purchased by AB-InBev not Budweiser, to think that Budweiser owns these craft breweries is as daft as saying that the breweries are owned by AB-InBev's other major brands, Stella Artois, Beck's, or even Leffe.

But the core message of the commercial is actually one that I can get on board with, because I have been saying something similar for quite some time. Beer is for drinking, with your mates, preferably down the pub. Sure, I am not going to go an order a pint of Budweiser because it is not my cup of tea, but I find myself increasingly drinking almost exclusively from breweries that I know make great drinking beers rather than an endless morass of shit with random extraneous ingredients -  I can think of plenty of breweries that should be focusing on quality and process management rather than what strange herbs from their aunt's garden they can dump into their next batch.

When it boils down to it though, I get the feeling that the hysteria is largely about one thing, and one thing only, the commercial is very close to home, and for many craft beer fans having the tables turned on them is uncomfortable. As with fundamentalists of every stripe, if you can't laugh at yourself then you might be taking things too seriously. It's just beer remember.


  1. I can agree with the tables being turned comment. For years the craft community has been putting big beer down at every chance. The return shot seems to have taken them all by surprise

  2. I like the Miller Coors response and then there's a spoof version of the Budweiser video that promotes craft beer on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCgkTeuJkR8&feature=youtu.be

  3. Funny really. I have always thought that so many so called beer drinkers aren't so at all. They are beer sippers and tasters.

  4. I'm drinking. With my mates. Down the pub. And it's only a 3.7% mild. Sorted.

  5. BUL 180 - that's exactly what it's all about really.

  6. I'm taking the whole thing as a compliment. Budweiser have noticed us. And by "us" I mean everything that's happening all over the globe in the beer world. We're all part of that thing, including the macro-brewers.

  7. In the American context at least, given the number of former AB brewers and execs now at craft breweries they would need to have their heads so spectacularly up their own arses not to have noticed the craft industry quite some time ago.

  8. I thought the ad was pretty funny...and 'spot on'.
    I see no harm in it, and while I'm not a Bud fan by any stretch of the imagination, I think they hit back in a funny, effective, and creative way.
    And it just hit too close to home for some of the geekier geeks. It's certainly not as though all craft beers are works of genius (a fact that's more apparent with every new brewery opening)

    Despite all the hubbub , in the end it's only beer, isn't it!


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