Bud.tv: Not Dead Yet?

CHICAGO Will the price of reentry for Bud.tv be too high, now that Anheuser-Busch’s online entertainment network is revamping its branded Web site?

“At this point I don’t know how you get back in if you blow it because you’re branded with the corporate stink of ‘We don’t understand this [online] world,'” said Angela Calman, president of Calman Media, a vlogger consultancy in Washington and publisher of Mediamogirl.com.

Tony Ponturo, A-B’s vp, global media and sports marketing, did not return calls for comment, but published reports said A-B would add shorter videos and try to make its Bud.tv programming more edgy. This effort emerged despite an acknowledgment from the brewer that the site didn’t drew too little traffic last month to be measured.

Also, in a nod to the social networking that was lacking in the brewer’s build-it-and-they-will-come strategy, Bud.tv will try community building by pulling in content from video creators outside its own programming network. A-B stewards also hope that Bud.tv entertainment will find its way to third-party Web sites. So far the company spent about half of the approximately $30 million it budgeted to support the network.

Although A-B applied traditional marketing-think into the untraditional medium of online entertainment, Calman does give A-B credit for trying to engage consumers in an arena where the rules are still being written.

Perhaps one model A-B should strive for is what Mentos has achieved. More than 100 million videos are seen daily on YouTube and 12,300 of those shorts somehow feature the chewy mint candy. The catalyst was an amateur video featuring Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz creating dancing geysers by dropping Mentos into 101 two-liter bottles of Diet Coke. Candy maker Perfetti Van Melle USA quickly took advantage of the momentum by promoting a contest for consumers to film their own Mentos geysers.

“We’d like to think Mentos is fun and quirky, but it’s the consumers who decide what it means,” said Peter Healy, vp, marketing at the Erlanger, Ky.-based candy company. “We hoped the brand would have that personality for offbeat and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. So we felt it was not that great of a risk to support the creativity of people who have that similar style.”