Sigh. I’m no fan of Budweiser. There’s really no beverage that Budweiser makes that I like. I’m more of a Beamish – Guinness – Bass kind-of-guy. And my friend Tim, a beer connoisseur, hasn’t helped in that area either being that he abhors Budweiser along with most of the US’s mass manufacturered, what he calls, "piss water".
So it bugs me that I realllllllllllly like their Budweiser Select commercials. I’m sure you’ve seen them. They flash scenes from nightclubs and ultralounges around the world with trendy folks wearing hip threads and leather jammin’ to the sounds of the Chemical Brothers song, "Galvanize".
BUDWEISER: The King of Commercials
This is a good commercial. As a guy with sales experience that once lived that life, that’s a damned good commerical targetting exactly the right segment. Granted, I’m biased being that I like the Chemical Brothers and frankly smouldering hotness in leather isn’t something you’ll see me protesting against, I know something about those folks affectionately called "urban connectors" and to be blunt these folks ACTUALLY DRINK BUDWEISER.
These are those folks that used hit spring break every year in college. The ones that live in NoHo in a 2 person flat that spend more money at Kenneth Cole or Salvatore Ferragamo in a single day than at Ralphs all year, while working their way to partner at their father’s law firm.
I swear, these folks will drink anything – Corona, MGD, Coors – I’ve noticed that the beer brand doesn’t actually seem to matter. "Heinies" are considered exotic to these folk. It seems that as long as it has alcohol in it, and they’ve heard of the brand as being something everything else will drink, they’ll consume it. I’ve even heard that the fact that the light watery color of American lite beers gives it an edge "because that way it doesn’t stain your dress if it gets spilled on you." Bottom line is that getting a buzz with the opportunity to hook up in a live social scene is the priority – and let taste be damned.
Which is what makes this commercial so smart. If you assume that these urban connector types will drink anything regardless of actual taste, and that these folks are more interested in subconcious brand recognition. Aligning the beer’s symbol & name over and over and over again with the same environment, the same music, the same clothing, the same club-goers… it’s "alignment advertising". Simple, easy "exposure through association" and they use their 30 seconds of TV time well.
V-DUB: Volkwagen’s Advertising for the GTI
Now compare this with the "V-Dub" commercials featuring a German-accented guy dressed in white advertising the New Volkswagen GTI. In the ads, they usually take some guy who’s tricked out his car, and basically smash it on TV using a large crate that gets dropped on it, a catapult/trebuchet that hurls it overhead, then introduces a white GTI as an alternative "hip" car.
The target, contrary to what one might think, are individuals that "see tricked out cars, don’t own one, but would like to buy one that it fairly cool, and off-the-shelf hip". The car is presented as a clean, stylish automobile for the younger set, and to some degree they succeed. They poke fun at the "Japanese rice-rocket", chrome rimmed, big muffler, overcharged, whale-tailed, pimp-my-ride set, while giving viewers a "refined" choice to go with.
So you might say, "What’s the difference?" They’re doing the same thing as the Budweiser commercial. They’re aligning themselves with an audience that doesn’t have a tricked out car, and would like to buy something a little more "in"… a little more hip.
The problem is, the commercial was played during the Baltimore Ravens vs San Diego Chargers football game. If you’re watching the Ravens beat the Chargers in the final 34 seconds of the 4th quarter, you’re NOT a member of the wanna be soup-ed up car set. You’re likely into horsepower, Miller Genuine Draft, and Man Laws.
Why anyone would choose to advertise a wanna-be cool car to football game viewers is beyond me. Marketing decisions these days aren’t questioned enough by higher level executives I suppose.