How InBev Treats The King

Privilege belongs to the titans of industry. It’s part of the package, as it were. Expensive dinners, golf outings, fine hotels, first class tickets or a ride on the corporate jet–it’s all part of the deal. So, imagine the surprise Anheuser-Busch executives received upon discovering that InBev is the Wal-Mart of beer.
According to The Wall Street Journal, construction crews arrived at One Busch Place a few months ago and demolished the ornate executive suites at Anheuser-Busch Cos. In their place the workers built a sea of desks, where executives and others now work a few feet apart.

  • Managers accustomed to flying first class or on company planes now fly coach.
  • Freebies like tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games are suddenly scarce.
  • Most employees, even those at the company’s Sea World and Busch Gardens theme parks, got free beer. Not anymore.
  • The company will halt contributions to its pension plan for salaried employees in 2012. And in January, it will stop providing retiree life insurance.
  • A-B has cut the number of BlackBerrys for employees to 720 from 1,200.
  • The brewer is reducing the number of new ads created per year to 50 or 60 from about 100.
  • And they’re taking 120 days to pay their bills.

It’s more effective to make “sweeping, dramatic changes” than incremental ones, said a spokeswoman for the Belgian company.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.