Over the course of our years spent working on Budweiser we inevitably produced some commercials that never saw the light of day for one reason or another. Usually because they were “too” something. Too outrageous. Too weird. Too…not right.
It was a natural by-product of producing a lot of ads. Plus, Anheuser-Busch did things the right way. They knew their business and they knew their brands. So they could tell a good spot instantly. And they let us produce the work in the manner we wanted to. They trusted us. There was no testing of ideas. If they liked it, we did it. They would test finished spots for likeability and laugh value to help determine what would run on the Superbowl. And in which order they would run. A-B usually had five minutes to fill. That’s potentially ten :30 spots. But they would produce a lot more than that and those that didn’t make the game would air later that year. Or not all sometimes. Usually because the finished commercial didn’t square with their vision of it. But it wasn’t considered a big deal if a spot never ran. That, in essence, is why the whole world loved their advertising. They understood that the “risk” would yield huge rewards. And they were right. Again and again and again. They were pretty chilled-out about the whole thing, considering.
Their biggest competitor Miller, by contrast, tested everything and never had a hit. They spent all their money talking about the things that nobody really cares about: telling you how great their beers tasted etc.
We now present for the very first time, a selection of our favorites. The ones that got away!
The first one was a spot in the “Jersey Guys” campaign. The idea was one of the guys was getting married and all his pals would come up and greet him and his bride. But because they were from New Jersey they would playfully slap and poke their friend. I recall my former partner (and NJ native) Justin Reardon had the idea for this spot. I loved it. And still do. It was directed by Allen Coulter of Station films. Allen directed a lot of the first season of a little TV show called The Sopranos. You may recall it. And he was an inspiration to work with. A real director! He shot the ads like a TV show. The production was designed by the legendary Bob Shaw who also worked on the Sopranos. He currently is responsible for making sure that Mad Men looks impeccable. And seems to be doing a great job. I remember we all (cast and crew and production company) went for a nice Italian meal after shooting this.
FUN FACT: We shot it in an Italian wedding banquet hall in Brooklyn. The Oriental Banquet hall. The was the real deal! You’ll notice there’s a quick shot of a wedding cake with an actual fountain on it at the beginning of the spot. That was surprisingly easy to find. This place would be where the GoodFellas got married. For real.