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Posted by: Burt Helm on February 12, 2007
I’ve only watched three sketches and a movie trailer so far on Budweiser’s much anticipated and ambitious Bud.TV, a video and entertainment site that the brewer is expected to spend almost $30 million on this year. The idea is to capture consumers’ attention as we spend more of our time online. But I’ve found just this short experience so irritating that I actually think the site will have a negative effect on viewers, if any at all.
Let me rack up the impressive number of annoying-points scored by Anheuser-Busch on my first visit to its new site:
-I had to try to log in four times (+15) to get the site to work.
-The reason for the failed logins was because A-B requires you to put in your name, zip code, and birthday as it appears on your driver’s license (+25). I realize you need to avoid the appearance that you are marketing to underage viewers, Bud, but I’m just trying to watch funny videos here. That’s a serious amount of personal information.
-The first thing I see when I log in is a video of the girl explaining how to use the site. Thanks, but I’ve visited YouTube before (+0.25).
-The nearest two links are a movie trailer and a Budweiser advertisement. (+10). Aren’t viewers coming here to be implicitly marketed to? Where are the shows?
-I found a show. But click on it, and you have to watch a Budweiser pre-roll ad first (+5). Click on another, and you have to watch the same ad again (+10). Aren’t I already on the site, Budweiser? There are TONS of sites with funny vids and almost no ads (channel101.com and channel102.net, for starters). I'm getting ready to leave, here...
-These sketches are awful. Awful! (+50) Worse than the last 30 minutes of Saturday Night Live. Worse than the fake skits on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s version of Saturday Night Live. Worse than the Saturday Night Live-esque skits you see put on in high school talent shows. Worse than any skit in any staff retreat you’ve ever been too.
Should I have expected big laughs from skits entitled “Puppet News Show,” “Replaced by a Chimp,” and “This Day in History”? No. But shouldn't I safely expect to laugh once?* And didn’t I just get carded to get onto this site? We’re all over 21 here, Bud. And you’re showing us something called “Puppet News Show.”
This site was intended to increase brand loyalty by giving beer drinkers a fun place to procrastinate online. So how do I feel about the brand? 115.25 annoying points in 10 minutes equals I hate you, Budweiser. It’s gonna take several years worth of funny Super Bowl ads for me to take you back. Until then, I’m sticking with my new favorite brew, Pork Slap.
*Side note: I did laugh once. Watching the chimp in a lab coat eat a latex glove was funny. But my laughter quickly faded when the chimp took a buxom nurse into a back room for sex. Sounds funny, I know, but it was bizarre and creepy. All-told, “Replaced by a Chimp” was more uncomfortable viewing than I ever imagined a three-minute “monkey-as-dentist” skit could be. Let's hope this site improves.
News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.