Despite Critics, Louie The Lizard Is Back For Bud

Goodby, Silverstein’s New Work Will Be Held For The Super Bowl
SAN FRANCISCO–Anheuser-Busch is strengthening its commitment to Budweiser lizards Louie and Frank despite mounting criticism from children’s advocacy groups. The company has asked Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to create a new campaign featuring the scaly brand heroes to break during the Super Bowl, said sources.
Sources said Goodby here has already produced a spoof of A-B’s heritage campaign, created by lead shop DDB Needham in Chicago. That work stars prominent members of the Busch family talking warmly about Budweiser’s history.
Goodby’s new spot features Louie trumpeting his family’s history in the swamp, and offering up tidbits such as, “My father was a gnatcatcher,” said sources. The spot was finished weeks ago and initially scheduled to break before Thanksgiving. “A-B’s top management loves this Louie spot, and there’s a good chance it won’t see the light of day until January,” said one source, who added that A-B has about 10 units to fill during the big game.
Sources said the St. Louis brewer had considered dropping the entire campaign concept earlier this year because critics believed the lizards appealed too strongly to children. A-B has said it would not abandon the lizards, although it did give Louie “reduced prime-time weight” in the summer [Adweek, May 25].
A-B has sporadically aired spots showing Louie’s unsuccessful attempts to take his place as “weis” among the “Bud-weis-er” frogs. The lizards have received prominent play in recent radio and outdoor efforts.
Goodby in San Francisco referred queries to A-B, which did not return calls by press time.
A-B spent about $195 million on ads for all its brands through July of this year, 50 percent more than the first half of 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting. –with Trevor Jensen