A-B Previews New Work

An ad featuring a Clydesdale colt with big dreams adds a touch of poignancy to the mostly humorous new TV spots for Budweiser and Bud Light from DDB Needham Chicago, previewed at last week’s Anheuser-Busch wholesalers meeting.
Needham’s work was enthusiastically received by the wholesalers and by A-B chairman August Busch III, according to sources. Busch’s glowing remarks, while made at a forum for cheerleading, were greatly welcomed at Needham, which last year was often frustrated in its efforts to get creative work approved by the St. Louis brewer.
Also shown at the meeting were new Budweiser spots from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, featuring lizards Louie and Frank. These so-called “critter” spots are expected to get vastly reduced airplay in 1998.
Several of Needham’s new ads are set to air shortly, likely during coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. A-B spokesman Bill Etling said final approval has not been granted for many of the spots and that the brewer would not be discussing the new work. Needham officials also declined to comment.
Most of Needham’s spots for Bud and Bud Light rely on humor, sources said. While the wholesalers laughed heartily, some in attendance saw a lack of distinction in advertising between the two brands.
“Substitute Bud or Bud Light and you couldn’t tell the difference,” one observer noted.
One spot that took a straighter approach shows a young Clydesdale romping about, with a voiceover explaining that the colt dreams of the day he can be tied into the famous Budweiser hitch. As the frisky colt mimics his elders, the hitch pulls out of the barn, and the lead Clydesdale turns back and winks at the young hopeful.