Bud.Tv: So Lame I'm Angry.

Posted by: Burth 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.

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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.

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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.

Reader Comments

Felix

February 13, 2007 12:09 PM

I disagree with your assesment. There are some technical glitches that aren't insignificant right now - the registration process is awful and the site architecture poor - but the content is actually surprisingly good. In fact, you're the only person I've really heard complain about it.

This is a very novel idea Bud is doing, very bold. I think the makeover show and the Truly famous Show are terrific. the Chimp show is actually pretty funny and some of the skits aren't bad. just like pilots of TV shows (which tehse all are) give them more of a chance than a snap judgement. I think they are good concepts that will only improve - and they're pretty good already.

More marketers will copy A-B in this area - they always do. If you think Bud Tv is going away you're sorely mistaken in my estimation.

Burt Helm

February 13, 2007 12:23 PM

I don't know, Felix. I agree this is a bold move and that only more marketers will produce their own content...but I watched a few more after the post and I still haven't found one that I didn't think was seriously corny. I thought the Makeover show was meh, but I haven't watched the Truly Famous show yet.

I'll tune in again and keep an open mind, but I'm still doubtful this is going to be successful.

Felix

February 13, 2007 12:53 PM

Just like any network, bud TV will have shows that appeal to some and not to others. you haven't found anything yet but you're not really in their target.

In the long run few companies have proven more adept at entertaining their consumers than Budweiser. I'd bet on them every time. Sure, they will have their misses ie. site architecture and the admittedly terrible "Life Coach" skit and that "Future man" pile - but they'll ultimately succeed.

The world of entertainment is very different in some respects than the ad world. There are more sharp swords drawn, more people overly quick to criticize (as I think you have been.) The blogosphere (and reportedly the number of hits they are receiving) would suggest that a lot of people are likeing Bud Tv a lot more than you. This is the start of something big.

Coors Light Staffer

February 13, 2007 1:11 PM

I've got to say that Felix seems to be one in the chain of executives who frittered away $30 million for this, because he's covering his tush so fast that my screen's blurring. Yes, I will sympathize him that it is really hard to make watered-down fermented Clydesdale droppings cooler than fermented Colorado deer-droppings, and that sometimes you have to hire a chimp. But how can you say that lame commericals repurposed as skits are bold and novel...with a straight face? I do agree with your comment that "few companies have proven more adept at entertaining their customers than Budweiser." I mean, The Sopranos would be SO much cooler with a chimp mob boss instead of that James Gandolfini hack.

YouTube Fantatic

February 13, 2007 3:50 PM

I wonder why they are spending $30M on it when they can simply take the creative videos they are producing and put them up on YouTube. They will get a lot more traffic and attention there. Lets face it attracting visitors to BudTV will not be easy or cost effective. Let the YouTubes of the world handle the platform while BudTV can handle the production of the creative content.

tpp

February 14, 2007 12:04 AM

They can't put the videos on YouTube, because they want the Bud branding, and since YouTube doesn't (yet) provide co-branded sites, it's not gonna be considered.

That and the "what if children see this" problem.

Still, YouTube could've probably solved the problem with far less than $30M and better.

Josh

February 14, 2007 12:18 AM

I don’t agree with you at all. My friends and I are between 22 and 24 years old, just the group that Budweiser is trying to attract with Bud.TV. Yes, they could improve the registration process a bit, but in general, we all think that it's a pretty cool site and we’ll keep coming back.
BTW Those guys at Budweiser deserve some credit because Bud.TV is a really cool name for a website.

Felix

February 16, 2007 7:49 AM

The true test on whether or not Bud Tv survives does sort of lie in this column. Will the guys at A-B have the stomach to survive the slings and arrows that come whenever you are making something called entertainment.

A-B has been very succesful producing commercials with a mainstay bent aimed squarely at the middle. They've received, for the most part, praise and applaud for their efforts (in many circles; in some they're viewed as 'playing it too safe" as of late.) Nonetheless, they haven't had to weather much criticism. which is good because AB4 and his under lieutenant Bob Lachky are notoriously thin-skinned.

But now that they are selling entertainment - the gloves are off. Burt, you yourself launched a scathing review then admitted you watched very little of the content. Your experience was tainted by the registration process (a technical glitch that will obviously be fixed.) yet you used to pulpit to damn the entire effort anyway. Which, really, is a bit irresponsible.

This is the world A-B has entered. Judging the value of entertainment is fickle business at business (all the networks originally passed on American Idol - so there are plenty of "experts" looking stupid there.) As William Goldwyn said of the movie business when responding to the criticisms of "experts," "Nobody knows anything." The only thing we don't know about A-B is if they'll have the courage and fortitude to stomach the criticism of "experts" and stay the course with this important and groundbreaking effort. I for one hope they do; I think they're on to something big and I enjoy the site. But I'm no expert.

Burt Helm

February 21, 2007 3:13 PM

I totally agree that my experience was tainted by the registration process. But I totally disagree that slamming Bud.tv was irresponsible!

What normal person would *not* let that login process taint his experience? And after watching three god-awful videos, what normal person would stay logged in and watch more? What kind of charity are you asking for here?

I'm happy to keep logging in and give Bud.tv a more chance, and I'll definitely write a post about it if the site gets better. But until then, (and I've watched more vids since I posted) I'm sticking to my guns on this one.

Akira_28

May 18, 2007 7:42 PM

Despite being over the age of 30, the Bud.tv registration will not let me in without offering up my drivers lisence number.

Is anyone really going to give this out over the internet? A work mate of mine tried to loggin with all legitimate information and was also refused.

I have to believe its nothing more then a marketing scam with a poor design. I will simply wait for the content to find it's way to an illegal site and enjoy it without the hindrance.

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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.

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