DDB Readies Bud For World Cup

Anheuser-Busch is preparing a global campaign for its flagship Budweiser brand tied to its sponsorship of the World Cup.
The campaign includes three playful, animated TV spots, according to sources familiar with the work. Developed by DDB Needham Chicago with London design shops The Mill and The Frame Store, the spots look to dial up the presence of Bud’s red “bow tie” logo as an internationally recognized icon.
In one spot, the logo comes to life and plays goalie. In another, the World Cup trophy puts down the ball, waddles over to a Bud bottle and gives it a bear hug before popping it open. The spots, which will air in the U.S. and all of Bud’s overseas markets, are likely to break in early December at the World Cup “final draw” in Marseilles.
A-B has switched its brand sponsorship of NASCAR racing to Bud from Busch, and sources said the brewer will shift the emphasis of its National Hockey League sponsorship to Bud from Bud Ice. A shift could be completed by February, when A-B plans a promotion involving the NHL Players Association.
A-B remains by far the largest U.S. brewer and just reported record third-quarter sales and profits. But sources said an environment of frantic cost cutting at the brewer’s St. Louis headquarters means secondary brands such as Michelob and Busch are likely to take further funding hits, again to free up money for Bud.
Industry sources said the brewer approached outside executives about joining the company, perhaps in a newly created ad czar role, to help boost Bud sales. A-B officials had no comment. –with Terry Lefton