Tag Archives: anheuser-busch

Bud Light is up for review

Just read that Bud Light is up for review after 28 years at incumbent DDB Chicago.

I worked on that brand for two years at DDB in the mid 90s.

It was great fun to work on but it was made difficult by the brand having the stone age strategy of “what would you do for a Bud Light?”.

Everything you thought of and idea you had was immediately met with an “oh we did that three/five/seven years ago!” reaction.

Or, “the brewery doesn’t like spots with epileptic penguins”.

So it could be a mind-bendingly difficult assignment to come up with anything fresh for. A real head scratcher.

But the good thing was I was being paid to do this and had nothing else to occupy my time.

Plus, I was insanely bent on producing a famous funny beer spot. That helped too.

Also, the brand had experienced double digit growth every year for 12 years. So the client was unusually receptive to crazy ideas.

Working on Bud Light was a great training ground for a lot of creatives, myself included.

They had a monstrous media budget and the production budgets weren’t too bad either. I was also keen to take advantage of that. And did!

If you did a Bud Light spot the whole country would know about it. This prospect would frequently cause me to wet myself.

DDB Chicago did a stellar job on Budweiser Light, as it was initially named, over the years.

It’s one of the all time great marketing success stories.

So a hearty WELL DONE! to veteran Chicago DDB-ers JT Mapel and Mark Gross and Chuck Rachford and (you know he’ll sulk if i don’t mention him) Chris Roe!

I don’t know how you guys did it, year after year after year.

After year.

And well done to everyone else who nearly shat themselves with terror on a Sunday night because the latest Bud Light Superbowl scripts were due Monday morning.

And you’d heard Goodby were rumored to be in the frame on this one.

And the pressure was really on this time.

No,seriously guys! This is really serious this time!

And Bob Lachky has a verucca.

And…and…and.

It was like Vietnam.

If you weren’t there you just can’t understand maaaaaaan!!!

Learn from the, ahem, real man of genius.

Just found these the other day.

It’s an interview with Bob Lachky, former head of advertising at Anheuser Busch. The guy to whom we used to present our ideas for Budweiser and Bud Light when I worked on those brands.

He’s the guy who approved such pop culture advertising classics these gems.

YES I AM for Bud Light.

I LOVE YOU MAN for Bud Light.

THE BUDWEISER LIZARDS. AND FROGS.

REAL MEN OF GENIUS for Bud Light

And my personal favorite…

As you’ll see, Bob should run for US Senate. He would win in a landslide.

Instead he chose to oversee the creation of some of the best advertising in the world.

Bob and his colleagues really understood their business and the advertising business and the media in general.

So perhaps more credit than I’d like to admit should go to Bob and the guys at A-B for their role in creating some really great advertising over the years.

More than once he made a call about something in one of my ads that I only realized later was of critical importance.

The story that many people, including many in the media, wanted to believe was how hard it was to sell our brilliant ideas to that stupid enormous beer client.

And nothing could have been further from the truth. They were the center of excellence. Not us.

As you’ll see.

Everyone interested in advertising, marketing and the media should watch this four part masterclass.

The end of an era. Bob Lachky leaves Anheuser-Busch.

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You know all those Budweiser and Bud Light ads you’ve loved over the years?  Well the man largely responsible for overseeing the creation of all of them – Bob Lachky – has left the brewery.

It is no exaggeration to say that I, and many other ad folks, owe our careers to Bob’s good judgment and steady nerves over the years.  If Bob liked your ad it very probably got done the way you wanted it to get done.   There were no nervous, interfering clients on Budweiser shoots.  They trusted us to get it done.  It wasn’t unusual to have no client at all present on a shoot.  I actually didn’t like that because I would end up trying to play client and annoy everyone in the process.

Ad geeks might be surprised to know that Bob started out as an account guy on Bud Light at DDB.   And was later hired by August Busch III to supervise the various A-B ad agencies output.  Bob’s somewhat senatorial demeanor could be misleading to the uninitiated.  He had surprisingly great creative and executional instincts.  I hesitate to tell the following story because it makes me look slightly bad, but here goes.

At the pre-production meeting the day before we shot the original Wassup! Ads, Bob asked me why the tagline at the end of the scripts read “This Bud’s for you”, their tagline at the time.  I uncertainly replied: because…it’s…your…tagline…Bob.

The short film we based the ads on was called “TRUE”.  And that word fluttered briefly on the screen at the end.  Bob, correctly, felt the ads in our campaign should end with that title too.  So we did that.  And I’m glad we did. It just felt right. I didn’t think it made that much difference at the time but it did as the campaign took off and ultimately became known as the TRUE campaign.

I’m not sure what Bob’s plans are.  I think he should write a book. I told him that the last time we met.  Write a book Bob!  There.  That should do it.

And so l hoist a beer-clean pilsner glass of Bud (poured down the middle to release the carbonation, natch) in his honor.   Here’s to you Mr. Great Beer Commercial Getter on the Air Guy.

Good luck Bob, and swing by The  Escape Pod next time you’re in Chicago.