Budweiser does not get everything right. They’ve run countless lowest-common-denominator commercials, of late. They’ve engaged Miller in a battle they have no business taking part in (only challenger brands stand to gain from such activities). But this latest piece of news from Media Daily News reveals that someone in St. Louis “gets it.”
In a move that’s sure to cause a stir at ABC, as well as the other major networks, long-time Super Bowl advertiser Anheuser-Busch will use its buy in ABC’s coverage of the game on Sunday to launch its own direct-to-consumer network. Details of the strategy are still under wraps, but the new channel, code-named “The Bud Screen,” will debut sometime during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XL, offering viewers the opportunity to download advertising, programming and branded entertainment content directly to their computers, iPods and other devices.
“This changes the whole concept of broadcasting out to consumers. Typically media companies have done that. With the Internet, we blow out that old model and enable advertisers to reach consumers directly without having the media companies sell the ad space,” says Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Maven, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company that will power the new Bud channel.
If you’re going to do branded entertainment, why not own the distribution channel too? I’ve said for years that projects like a branded internet radio station presents a huge opportunity to deliver brand-relevant content, 24/7, at a cost light years away from traditional media buys.
I’ll be interested to see what kind of content Bud begins this journey with, but even if it sucks, it doesn’t matter all that much. What matters is the fact that a beer behemoth is now also a media company (something former Coca-Cola COO, Steven Heyer, called for in 2003).