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Whoever thought that a couple of Chameleons could become Icons was either out of his tree or a pure genius. Or, how about slobbering down a phone line or singing the merits of and oversized takeaway food item?
Budweiser have had some of the best adverts on the TV. They've also had some remarkably normal ads which don't entertain you as much but probably put the message across better.
Currently they seem to be running two campaigns. The first is pretty normal, with a couple of adverts. The first advert involves foaming bottles and shots of the pure ingredients that go into making the beer. The second extolls the beer and ends up saying that the end of the first is time for the next. Well, it's nice to know that the ingedients don't include gunk and that it tastes nice but it doesn't make me rush out to buy a four pack.
The second current campaign is to do with all american heroes - the inventer of the foot long hotdog is the most notable. There are shots of a long haired rock artist in the studio singing along to a voiceover telling about the invention of first a 10 inch (that's 25cm to you metric chaps) and then the culmination of a lifetimes work and the invention of the 12 inch (30cm) Hotdog. All this is accompanied by the raising of a bottle or two of foaming budweiser.
It's quite nice to see Americans taking the mickey out of themselves. The problem is - who would ever want to buy a bottle of beer that overflows every time you open one - the stuff is expensive enough without spilling half of it.
Neither of these two campaigns are a patch on the previous two. The first started off in the depths of a swamp and the croaking of frogs there is a shack in the background, finally the random croaks line up Bud - Weis - er. The next installment involved the frogs and an alligator raiding the shack and coming out with a crate of their favourite beer.
Then came the masterstroke. With the frogs croaking away the camera pulls back to show a couple of chameleons sitting in the trees. And boy is one of them pissed off at not getting the part in the commercial. Frank and Louie are introduced to the world.
The rest of the series follows the chameleons as Louie gets more and more irrate as the fame of the frogs grows. Eventually things come to a head and he hires a Hit Ferret. The sign on the shack drops into the water and the frogs are electrocuted. But it's not over, the frogs survive and we leave Frank and Louie wishing they hadn't sent a Ferret to do a Weasals job.
To tell you the truth, I was a tad dissapointed when Budweiser introduced their next campaign. But it soon started tongues wagging (in more ways than one). Simply put - "Wazzup". The campaign had various situations of a group of friends ringing each other up, screaming "Wazzup!" down the phone and saying they were watching a game, drinking a bud - whether they were at home, or actually at the game. Simplicity itself.
What Budweiser probably weren't expecting was the way the catchphrase caught on. Soon everybody was wazzuping at each other (the spell checker didn't like that!) and a plethora of rip offs could be downloaded - grannies, South Park to name but two.
It got so popular that Frank and Louie got in on the act, saying that the wazzup guys had stolen the tongue wagging off them. Combining probably the two best advertising campaigns of the time was the end of the two campaigns.
OK, the adverts give you a chuckle but don't immediately make you want to buy the product. What they do do is make the product instantly recognisable. Given the choice of Budweiser and another premium bottled beer 95% of you would take the Bud if you hadn't bought bottled beer before.
The campaigns have therefore done what they set out to do - raise your awareness of the product, and as a sideline, created a merchandising line of the characters.
I still think of the adverts when I see the bottles in the supermarket.
mbmb11 17.10.2001 14:04
The Budweiser web site is cool too - it has some cool features!
TallTone 17.10.2001 13:00
Spot on piece Steve. Advertising beer has always been about the brand image. You either focus on the history (which Bud have also done) or you attempt to make it "cool". After all, there's no disguising that too many beers create pavement pizzas! "Wazzzzzzzuppppppppp!" was the most inspired campaign in recent history - very slick editing that actually had the tears rolling down my cheeks when it first appeared - no word of a lie! Despite the way it's been jumped on the memories still bring a smile to my face. Regards, TT.