Wassup with that? ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wassup with that?

This election campaign ad must be driving the people at Budweiser crazy. It's a parody of Budweiser's "Wassup" ad with a very different and partisan message and it already has over 2 million views on YouTube. It shows that our Wassup friends have not not done so well in the Bush years and ends with a call to vote for change and Obama.

Burt Helm did some digging (details here) and found out that this new ad was made by the original director Charles Stone III and includes most of the original cast. That's why it looks so good. But how could that happen? Surely, Budweiser has the rights? According to Stone, the answer is "no." They never owned the idea and they just leased the rights (for $37,000). As he says: "That I’m able to use an idea distributed by a huge company, who made a lot of money off it, so that now when I put out what I want to say, it’s recognizable, and it sparks -- that’s worth $1 million to me."

From the Budweiser perspective, this is pretty much a disaster from a brand association perspective. The only good news is that there's a "does not reflect the opinions of Anheuser-Busch" disclaimer at the end of the ad which they'll have to hope works as intended. A little more generous allocation of funds to the rights ownership bucket might be in order in the future.

(Here's the original Wassup ad in case you want to see it.)


Jeffry Pilcher said...

It's only "a disaster" if Budweiser would prefer its brand be aligned with the Republican Party.

Polls indicate Obama is leading, and if one political party or the other is going to spoof my ad, I'd rather it be the one who's winning.

There could be some big Obama fans who may be drinking a new brand of beer because of this. At the very least, Obama supporters have to be in a pro-Budweiser mood (even if only subliminally).

*Note: This commenter likes both candidates and hasn't decided who he's voting for yet. Nothing said herein is intended to constitute either an "attack" or an "endorsement."

Martin Bishop said...

I don't know Jeffry. Whoever wins is only going to get around half the vote. This is not a market segmentation that's very helpful for the brand.

BIG Kahuna said...

Hey Martin, before I comment I have to send you a graphic Jeffry Pilcher posted on his website about me. The most unprofessional thing you'll ever see. I actually have my attorney working on it through a law firm in Nevada...The guy is a complete nut job.

That said...Bud made a fortune and I'm shocked that they only paid $37K. But now they're paying the price of not owning the rights.

Richard Band said...

Great minds - I think my post went up at around the same time as yours this AM. I'm less of the opinion that it's a disaster for Bud in terms of poor associations, as there are a heck of a lot of Obama supporters out there who are excited by the notion of "change". Having that excitement link back to Bud inadvertently is a good thing. Instead, I think its more embarrassing as poor brand stewardship. It reinforces the notion that the ownership of brands exists with the users, not the managers

Martin Bishop said...

Here's the link to Richard's post: http://www.eggstrategy.com/blog/?p=407

I think we agree that this new ad will be strongly associated with Budweiser. That might please Obama supporters but will upset just as many McCain supporters.

I just don't think that Bud would have wanted to go this route. And, for a little bit more money to buy out the rights, they wouldn't have had to.

Straight Talk on McCain said...

With all the negative ads out there, all the smear campaigns, it’s good to see something with a sense of humor. It still manages to get its point across of course, but using pop culture references instead of smear techniques. Pretty good. http://straighttalkonmccain.blogspot.com/

Martin Bishop said...

More on the ad from the Wall Street Journal here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122523033360177623.html

Includes quote from Allan Adamson (Landor): "If you don't own the idea, you don't have any control. It's like driving the car from the back seat."

Martin Bishop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Bishop said...

Link won't fit in the comment box. It's .html (not just .h)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122523033360177623 (.html)

Blog Directory - Blogged