Bud’s ‘Gus’ Gets Texas Fresh

By Gerry Khermouch

NEW YORK–Anheuser-Busch is bringing ‘Gus,’ the Budweiser freshness guy, to Texas in a television ad effort that intensifies the grass-roots feel of the broader campaign in one of the industry’s most combative markets.

Budweiser marketing director Mike LaBroad said the advertising from DDB Needham Chicago will break by July 4 and if successful, the spots will be re-edited for national rollout later this summer.

Through spring, the freshness concept has continued to receive half the media weight of Budweiser advertising as A-B tries to build Bud’s quality image while exploiting a brewery network that makes it easier to provide regionally brewed, fresh beer to consumers.

New outdoor and radio ads and point-of-sale materials also have been emerging nationally, and the comedian who plays Gus has been stepping up personal appearances, LaBroad said.

Against a soundtrack employing the ‘Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ ‘ theme from the Rawhide TV show, the two commercials feature Gus traveling through Texas responding to skunky beer alerts in a ‘mobile freshness unit,’ or MFU. It is a prosaic-looking recreational vehicle on the outside but a ludicrously futuristic technopod on the inside.

As Gus guides the RV across the state’s vast expanses and past glimpses of skylines, barbecue parties and other local scenery, he translates the core message into funky lines like ‘Freshness never stops boogying.’

‘We’ve shot a couple of different versions so that if they’re successful, we can roll them out nationally,’ LaBroad said.

Texas has been a flashpoint for both price skirmishing and targeted marketing efforts by the major brewers, including a second year of Texas-only Bud Light ads featuring the Ladies’ Night cross-dressers.

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