Bud Light’s Odd Couple

CHICAGO DDB’s latest effort for Bud Light—an odd pairing of a primitive tribesman and a modern American as roommates—was born out of a real-life experience. Sort of.

“[Copywriter] Jeb [Quaid] had a really bad roommate in college,” said Mark Gross, the group creative director who oversaw the campaign. “We thought wouldn’t it be funny if we paired up a bad roommate with someone, and that the only thing about him was that he liked Bud Light.”

And so was born Zagar, a primitive tribesman, and his roommate Steve. In a campaign that launched earlier this month, television spots show Zagar trying to adapt to American culture, shooting arrows at the cat, trying to light a fire under Steve’s bath and playing a particularly aggressive game of basketball. “But he’s worked out as a roommate for one reason: We both love Bud Light,” Steve says in a voiceover.

“It’s a classic odd couple story,” Gross said.

The TV campaign is supported by a Web site, www.zagarandsteve.com, where Steve maintains a blog about his new roommate and the story of Zagar’s birth in an undisclosed primitive land.

The campaign was born in a pitch session last fall that also saw the birth of another character, Ted Ferguson, who performs feats of daring (like staying in the office past 5 p.m.) for a Bud Light. “[Anheuser-Busch] likes characters and things that can be extended,” Gross said. “It gives us a great on-premise opportunity.”

While Ferguson has been making the rounds in bars across the country (and new television spots are coming soon), Gross suggested similar possibilities for Zagar. One idea was to have him wander New York City in his primitive garb.

“We’re going to focus on the Web site now, like updating Steve’s blog and perhaps create some Zagar Webisodes,” Gross said.