Hot off the press: The New York Times is reporting today that Budweiser is putting their famous clydesdales back in the stables – possibly for good! After years of dwindling sales – some of which can be attributed to cannibalism by its fewer-caloried friend, Bud Light – Budweiser appears to be taking its brand in a new direction to appeal to younger beer drinkers. For many of the people in this MCM cohort, the Clydesdales probably represent a staple in your advertising past. I know I always looked forward to the King of Beers trotting out (sorry, couldn’t help myself) the horses during the Super Bowl. For my money, the “Nah, they usually go for two” ad is as good as it gets.
I write today to first pay appropriate homage to a great ad campaign, but second, to point out how Budweiser has always been able to retire good ads and replace them with something better. Remember when they added a puppy to the Clydesdale spots and the internet exploded? The folks at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis must have a bunch of animal loving Creative Directors; I also recall when the “Bud” “Weis” “Er” frogs upstaged the 1995 Super Bowl. The beverage industry is rich with great advertisements – promoting beer is, after all, pretty easy – but I think Anheuser-Busch has always been exceptional. I’m wondering what other brands have been able to retire iconic campaigns and replace them with great effectiveness? Old Spice is another brand that has a reputation for knocking consecutive campaigns out of the park. Can anyone think of any others?