BUD'S ANTS DON'T CUT IT

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I must take exception to Bob Garfield's review of the first broadcast attempt by DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, for Budweiser (AA, May 29). Although I agree that ants are far more preemptive in beer commercials than sweaty guys in hardhats, the frogs certainly had more character and "cool appeal" than ants. But neither one is preemptive enough to begin to build the kind of genre that sells beer or any other product.

Seriously, dismissing the fact that my father, Bob Johnson, wrote and produced Bud commercials for a quarter of a century -from the "Where there's life there's Bud" to "This Bud's For You"-and that I still believe that Clydesdales have marketability, my feelings are that DDB has a long way to go to get the brand back on track.

My unofficial focus group research, comprised of my teen-age son and his constituents (emerging markets), reflects that the ant spot is another "what does this have to do with the product" commercial. It fails to deliver the kind of product imaging that is needed to separate Budweiser from Ball Park Franks.

Let's remember the basics of beer marketing. Brand image and brand quality build brand loyalty. DDB can do better for Bud than bugs.

Barry Johnson

Coral Springs, Fla.

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