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.


It was like Vietnam.

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

4 responses to “Bud Light is up for review

  1. OMG so I was playing POLE! and the player needed to buffer exactly when he hit the pole. So the pole was frozen at the big moment. That was awesome!

    I commented about this on the other post with the 3 interview shorts.

    Isn’t all Bud Light or any of these mass beers has to differentiate the ads since price and taste are pretty much the same?

  2. That’s funny howie.

    yes howie. beer is a funny thing. a lot of it is in the unique head of the beer drinker.

    for example, lately i’ve been drinking Carlsberg and one of the reasons is i like the feel of the raised glass lettering on the bottle. it just feels good. doesn’t make any sense whatsoever but there you go!

    And for years the more adventurous advertising done on Bud Light was a competitive advantage. when you’re sell a mass market lager on TV, being the cool and funny friend is arguably the only way to go.

    While Miller Lite were bleating on endlessly about hops and other shit that no 20 year old guy gives a toss about, we were having fun. and the consumers responded to that.

  3. That’s true howie.

    No escapepod. Beer isn’t a funny thing. But as you surely know, plenty of aspects of life are. So associating humor to a brand that has no redeeming qualities is a great way to create fondness of a brand.

    DDB did a great job with that in those earlier days. But they don’t anymore. (though that may not be their fault) So they will loose the business.

    • Beer is a funny thing. i worked on it for nine years. i know what i’m talking about here. that’s why comedy is invariably the right tone for the category. and the beer purchase decision, to which i was referring, most definitely is a funny thing.

      And DDB did a great job throughout their tenure on the brand. they had the number one spot on the superbowl for years (something that mattered greatly to the client) and the brand had double digit growth for years. THE ONLY reason DDB is losing Bud Light is because A-B was taken over InBev. Everybody knows that.

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