Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wow, how fickle the media gods can be

Budweiser is succeeding and failing at the same time.

Budweiser had some interesting and some real good spots on during this year's super bowl. Don't take my word for it, scan the web and check out reviews and commentary sites. Many crowned the "King of Beers" as the king of commercials during this year's big game broadcast.

They had one spot that I thought was quite funny - the spot of the auctioneer presiding over a young couple's wedding. Someone (not Budweiser) dropped that spot on YouTube and they have achieved 750,000+ views at the cost of $0. Yes, that is right - nothing to get exposed to hundreds of thousands of people. They spent millions to get exposed to millions during the game.

Here is the other side of the story. Anheuser Busch spent $600 million to launch I usually link to these things, but I am fairly confident that you will not be able to get in the site, so I am not bothering with the link. What makes me so confident you ask? I went to last week and registered on the site including lots of personal information to help them verify that I am over 21 years of age. The site said it could not verify my age so I could not gain access. I emailed Budweiser and communicated my dilemma. They emailed me back like 3 days later with a nice note and a 1-800 number to call to get registered. I called.

I gave the guy on the other end of the line tons of personal info. all in the name of age verification - including my driver's license ID number, current zip code, prior zip code, etc. Another three days and they emailed me an access code. I went back to the site and re-entered all of my info. plus the access code. No luck. The site said it still could not verify my age even with the access code sent to me by the Budweiser gestapo.

Okay, since this experience I have since seen that these issues are occurring for quite a few over 21 potential site visitors. $600 million and you cannot view the content!! $0 and 750,000 views of a spot. Think about that for a few minutes and as a marketer understand the difference. Accessibility, usability, engagement, ease of use, ease of sharing, open vs. closed environments, transparency and audience segmentation. What roles do all of these play in these very different scenarios for Budweiser?

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