This was a very popular ad when I turned up at Bishopsbridge Road.
When the client asked for more they were told the cupboard was bare, it was a one off.
Sean and I were briefed to create a campaign to deal with the rise of the new fangled beers that were popping up in the more fashionable bars.
We needed to run ads in the Face, Wallpaper and ID to talk to the fashionistas, opinion formers, hipsters or twats, whatever they’re called?
August Busch III and his gang wanted to really stick it to those newbies and say something like: ‘They’re kids, wet behind the ears, we’ve been making beer for over a hundred years, so we’re really good at it now.”
Account Man: “Heritage? In THOSE publications?”
Client: “But that’s the main difference between us and all these new lagers.”
Planning: “Nothing is less cool than banging on about being old, it’s so worthy and dull. We need a hip message to talk to hip people, and heritage isn’t hip.”
So the planners and client got into some kind of Mexican stand-off.
This was one of my bug bears at BMP, the planners were often too smart to say the obvious, they felt it was their job to turn the obvious into something ‘interesting’, so that the creatives could create.
A noble cause, but sometimes it would mean ‘15% off Volkswagen Beetles’ becomes ‘The sixties is now even more attainable’.
Creative :‘Why are the sixties now even more attainable? Oh… because there’s 15% off Volkswagens Beetles …I get it…can’t we just say that?’
I’d think, just give us the most motivating thing to say and let us worry about whether it’s interesting, it’s what we’re paid for, if heritage makes people question buying those new beers, let’s make heritage interesting. (It doesn’t have to be screeds of worthy copy banging on about the founders and their philosophy.)
First, we thought of that old comedy staple, ‘she’s so old that… (fill in the crazy stone-age/prehistoric/Elizabethan reference of choice.)
Then we thought: ‘America is virtually brand new’, hardly anything existed when Budweiser started, no Empire State Building, no Las Vegas, no Statue of Liberty.
Almost everything we associate with the U.S. didn’t exist when old Adolphus Busch started; 1876. (Yes, ok, I’ve read Wikipedia.)
Let’s try that in pictures:
We liked it, but worried that simply showing things that weren’t there might be a bit like the ‘Prohibition’ ad.
So what else was different back then?
Meanings! A Big Mac didn’t exist…it probably meant… a large bloke called Mac:
Any other ways we can slice this?
What about things that looked different a hundred years ago: ie; John Wayne wouldn’t have been so tall, he’d be tiny, in fact he’d resemble a tadpole.
We mocked them up.
Running the pictures left to right felt a bit traditional, so I ran them down the left hand side of the gutter, hipsters love the kind of shit.
We’ve got a bottle shot, we’ve got the word ‘Budweiser’ really big, do we really need a logo and pack shot? No, not if we want to look cool, and what’s less cool than desperately trying to flog your wares?
The Estate of John Wayne didn’t want him portrayed as a sperm, (perhaps because he’d effectively be nude?)
The Estate of Bob Hope didn’t want him portrayed as a sperm either. (He’s English anyway, isn’t he?)
The two car companies didn’t want to be associated with alcohol.
The two American Football teams passed.
That complete clown Ronald McDonald said ‘No!”
Passed-their-sell-by date disco group also said no.
Which left us with these three ads.
To break up the look of them, I gave each a different colour bias: greeny, browny and yellowy, to get technical about it.
Also, Dave Wakefield picked fonts that related to the date in each ad.
(Although he’s possibly the only guy in the country who would appreciate that detail.)
They went down really well.
They should’ve run for a number of years, but unfortunately Budweiser got obsessed with ‘Born on dates’, when their beer was first bottled.
What a terrible brief, is anyone worried they are drinking stale beer from a freshly opened bottle? It’s answering a problem people don’t have.
So we had to switch tack and start letting people know when their beer was born.
We got Platon to shoot them, they’re not bad, but not nearly as good.