BUDWEISER KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR FOR WORLD CUP

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Anheuser-Busch has a new image of patriotism: Jimi Hendrix's version of the national anthem, the World Cup and Budweiser.

The campaign kicks off a season of promotional advertising that includes a recasting of the year-old "Proud to be your Bud" effort.

In a $10 million push that will be the biggest promotional splash in a summer of major promotions, A-B, a World Cup global marketing partner, is counting on traditionally soccer-apathetic Americans being intrigued by the waves of World Cup athletes and spectators coming to the U.S.

One of the 60- and 30-second spots breaking in early May features Mr. Hendrix's performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock. The music will play behind a montage of slow motion action featuring some of the world's greatest soccer players.

"For millions of people, for hundreds of years, getting to America has been the ultimate goal," say words superimposed on the scenes in the spots from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis.

A-B is also discussing using Bora Milutinovic, coach of the U.S. soccer team, in English-language spots. Mr. Milutinovic, who has coached the teams of two other countries, is featured in Spanish-language U.S. advertising from Castor Advertising Corp., New York, breaking this week. Additional radio advertising is also possible.

"The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world," said Bob Lachky, director of Budweiser marketing. "We think there will be a gradual groundswell of interest, and we think we can help that. There will be a strong international flavor in the country and excitement. It will be unprecedented, and a lot of people will be taken in and surprised and watch the games."

A-B will accompany the World Cup TV effort with an in-store promotion, from Waylon Co., St. Louis, featuring red, white and blue bunting, giant balloons in the shape of soccer balls and a tear-off card good for a chance to win GMC Jimmy trucks.

While the World Cup spots will start running shortly, the in-store portion is the July Fourth element of a summerlong promotion series more generally called "Bud Race for the Summer" and built around auto racing. A longtime sponsor of auto racing, A-B is making its racing activities the center of most of the promotions for the first time.

A-B will build a sweepstakes promotion around four events. For the Indianapolis 500, the marketer will give away 33 cars (the Memorial Day race has 33 cars); 33 trucks for the World Cup; and 33 trips to NFL games for a Labor Day effort tied to ABC. Several more cars will be awarded in a promotion tied to the first stock car race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Aug. 6 Brickyard 400. Most of the promotions will get only radio support. Only the World Cup and the Brickyard 400 will get TV.

Meanwhile, A-B will try to rebuild Budweiser with a new round of creative that includes some changes for the "Proud to be your Bud" main TV campaign. Spots to break in two weeks use last year's music and graphics but switch away from group shots to vignettes telling a story of a single person.

A-B is also tying some of its separate Budweiser "Crisp, Clean, Classic" adult contemporary spots to quality messages. While one new spot features 21 to 27-year-olds listing cliches their parents used, another has the theme line as punch line for a message saying all beers aren't the same.

Jeff Jensen contributed to this story.

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