As an American-born consumer returning home after two decades in Russia, I want to make informed decisions about the brand of beer I purchase and consume. When I'm out on the lash, knocking back one clear shiny bottle after another, sloppily hunting for some easy sex, there's really only one thing that concerns me about my beer. That one thing is quality. Yes, sir. I want to know that my beer is brewed from barley, malt and the freshest spring water available.
A fine example is locally brewed, yet Turkish owned Stariy Melnik beer. Those boys don't screw around. Each of their TV spots starts with a nice long pack shot, with a masculine voiceover, detailing the beer's high quality ingredients. Cut to a long shot of the beer being poured, with careful attention to the label, and anotherpack shot. Now that's an ad!
When I saw Budweiser's latest campaign, it nearly took a mid-range home tool or appliance to clamp my jaw shut. On the heels of their disastrous "Whaaazaap!" ads, which completely misinformed consumers about the nature of the product they pour into their brown-ish bottles, Budweiser have completely outdone themselves. You can view the ad for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxC8zycxa4g.
A brief summary: In lieu of encouraging young men and women to do the fist bump as a sign of mutual approval, Budweiser depicts the same people slapping each other's faces, almost as if they're trying to start some kind of a fad.
Now any smart marketer of worth would have put this farce in front of a focus group, would have known that unless people know about the clean filtered water, they ain't interested. And everybody knows that eight marketing dilettantes, some unemployed, have a much better perception of market needs and the worth of an advertisement than some seasoned veteran with 20 years experience working across the brand spectrum.
I won't go into the tiny logo that appears at the end, garnering only two seconds of attention. Nor will I mention that this isn't even an adaptation. Imagine trying to appeal to the American market by using Americans. Everyone knows that Americans relate better to natives from places like Papua New Guinea and Laos.
It's moments like this that I truly begin to wonder whether this U.S. market will ever change. It will at least take another generation or two. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever understand the American soul.