If 30-second doses of Budweiser's audiovisual genius aren't sufficient for you — and, really, who could get enough of crabs worshipping a cooler? — today is your lucky day. It's the launch of Anheuser-Busch's own online entertainment network, Bud.TV. Bud.TV provides all sorts of longer-form entertainment commissioned by the beer company, not just their ads but also series from producers like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's production company, LivePlanet, and Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Films. And what a rollout: Not only does the launch come the day after Bud spent untold millions on Super Bowl ads; it also comes one day after a huge New York Times Magazine feature on the new service, which makes it sound like the greatest entertainment product since color TV.
Bud.TV may be a marketing venture at heart, but it is marketing sotto voce. The shows’ plots won’t revolve around the quest for the perfect beer and a beautiful woman to share it with. Characters won’t declaim the virtues of Budweiser’s freshness at every opportunity. The site won’t be cluttered with banner ads. Anheuser-Busch executives are banking on a more subtle connection. Attach a brand name to something cool, something entertaining, and that elusive young man (and to a lesser extent, young woman) may check out Bud.TV’s offerings again and again, send them along to friends, even take a stab at creating his own mini-film for the site.
So is it really that great? Um, we've got no idea. Talk to us again, Bud, when you don't have an onerous registration system — requiring our name, e-mail address, and cell number, and offering the always-inspiring instruction "please enter your first and last name as it appears on an I.D., like a driver's license" — and when you have site navigation that allows us to actually, you know, find some of this exciting programming, and we'll be happy to take a look.
If you need us in the meantime, we'll be having a Heineken.