We are unleashing the most powerful media system every developed. Two-way, lightening-fast, personalized. Ubiquitous, as we are connected everywhere: PC, TV, mobile. How does some of the Fortune 500 intend to use this new medium? Well, Anheuser-Busch’s Bud.TV is about to unleash at least seven broadband video channels. They already have programs in production. One is called â€œReplaced by a Chimp.â€ For each show, they will â€œgrab a profession, such as a waiter, or a bartender, or a trial attorney and replace those people with a chimp, and film the reaction of the consumers who happen to be in the same environment as the chimp. And then, at the end of the show, the consumer will vote on whether the chimp should stay and continue on the jobâ€¦â€ Thatâ€™s according to Budâ€™s VP of digital marketing and brand entertainment. [Read the three-part iMediaconnection series here.]
While we think such a show has some unthought-of of possibilities (replace a President, Congressperson or DC-based ad industry lobbyist anyone?), what Anheuser-Busch and so many others plan to do with branded entertainment raises many serious concerns (not the least of which is that though they claim otherwise, Bud will be reaching the under age drinking age population via these methods). Bud intends to air what it calls a â€œdocumentary,â€ â€“it will be peppered with â€œproduct placements.â€ They are signing up well-known actors, such as Kevin Spacey and his TriggerStreet Productions, to create short filmsâ€”and ultimately help endorse– their adnetwork. Bud.TV is negotiating with Rupert Murdoch so it can get a MySpace page for one of their â€œcharacters.â€ They are talking to NBC/Universal as well. They will use viral strategies to get consumers to make commercials for their beer, which will be shown on its very own channel–named â€œBudTube.â€ (I couldnâ€™t make all this up if I tried!).
But hey, broadband and digital media will soon all be about interactive marketing, brand pushing, and data collection. I guess I better chill. After all, I might miss Bud.TVâ€™s â€œhappy hourâ€ program. Theyâ€™ve named it the â€œ4:55 Show.â€
PS: As we noted yesterday, advertisers and programmers want to return to the good old days when they jointly created content. We acknowledge that the 1950’s Today show star J. Fred Muggs might approve of the Bud Chimp idea.