Timing is important in business, as it is in life. Which is why I take my hat off to Anheuser-Busch for launching Bud.tv tomorrow–the day after the Super Bowl. The effort would be impressive any day of any week, but it’s even more so on a day when everyone (not just industry types) are talking about advertising.
Here’s how The New York Times Magazine describes the project:
Bud.TV may be a marketing venture at heart, but it is marketing sotto voce. The shows’ plots won’t revolve around the quest for the perfect beer and a beautiful woman to share it with. Characters won’t declaim the virtues of Budweiser’s freshness at every opportunity. The site won’t be cluttered with banner ads. Anheuser-Busch executives are banking on a more subtle connection. Attach a brand name to something cool, something entertaining, and that elusive young man (and to a lesser extent, young woman) may check out Bud.TV’s offerings again and again, send them along to friends, even take a stab at creating his own minifilm for the site. Cultivate that warm, fuzzy feeling about Budweiser, and the company may cement the loyalty of the existing customer, or better, woo the uncommitted or hard-to-reach drinker to a Bud Light or a Michelob or a Peels malt-liquor beverage.
Bud.tv is being overseen by Jim Schumaker, a 26-year veteran of A-B and the brewer’s vice president of digital marketing and branded entertainment.
The project is the most ambitious content play by a big brand since the 1950s when soap operas were introduced with the express purpose of selling homemakers on packaged goods. Now, Bud.tv moves A-B beyond the producer role. A-B is the network.
The above quoted passage talks about subtlety. The magic here is the fact that Bud.tv needn’t laden itself with gratuituos pitches because the channel is the ad.