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Fresh off their USA Today Super Bowl advertising poll victory, Budweiser has flipped the switch on Bud.tv.  This might turn out to be one of the biggest stories
in advertising this year. Anheuser-Busch will spend over $30 million
this year on this online video network.

The site would be on my top 10 in the usability category if the age verification actually worked.

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Once you call the toll free number and get an access code because the flawed age verification system in place did not let you in despite being in your mid-30's...the site uses video in an exciting way.

The site is easy to use and features short films like “Finish Our Film”.
This mash-up of reality show and making-of-a-film documentary produced
by LivePlanet, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company.  Not
surprisingly most of the videos lean towards 25-year guy humor with
high art concepts like “Replaced by a Chimp” in which a chimp tries to
do a real job.

This is a new play on one of the oldest tactics in marketing known
as branded entertainment. P&G started it in the age of radio with
the soap opera. There have been
many attempts by marketers to create content online that provides a
contextual envelope to advertise their brands some have done a great job (The Rookie & 24) some have failed miserably.  Success is always found in the story that they brand tells.  A-B's Bud.tv is the
most ambitious.

A-B intends to tread carefully in how they promote their brands.
They are acutely aware of how easy it would be turn off their audience
with excessively blatant promotion. You’ll know it’s for Bud brands but
it will be subtle s, so they say. 

As many of you know, I am a huge advocate of branded entertainment and relevant content.  But then I factor in the ROI or the impressions model as a layer to be considered.

  • $30 million is about 5% of A-B’s ad budget. 
  • Their goal
    is to reach 2-3 million 21-34 year-old guys per month.
  • Lets give an educated guess as to streams -24-36
    million exposures per year
  • That works out an average of $1 to get
    each customer to spend time with them.

Compared to a 30 sec spot
on the Super bowl that’s expensive. But is it really? 
How might we begin to measure the engagemnt model for this form of advertising?  It would be nice to see an equation that factors in an average of 16 minutes of engagement for each consumer who will spend
lots of time on Bud.tv, giving A-B the opportunity to put lots of ad
exposures in front their customers.

What are your thoughts?

ON: Bud.TV via @jpenabickley