New Anheuser-Busch Spots Ask Spike Lee as Part of 'Here's to Beer' Effort

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Anheuser-Busch’s latest “Here’s to Beer” spots set to air this weekend star filmmaker Spike Lee and “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli.

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The spots, directed by Mr. Lee and created by Omnicom Group’s DDB Chicago, ask viewers whom they would have a beer with if given the chance. Mr. Lee chose pioneering baseball great Jackie Robinson, while Mr. Imperioli picked Humphrey Bogart.

Losing share to wine and spirits
The “Here’s to Beer” campaign was launched in February with a TV spot showing people toasting each other in different languages. Although funded by Anheuser-Busch, the campaign focuses on building the entire category as beer gradually loses market share to wine and spirits.

Anheuser-Busch Exec VP Robert Lachky said the spots are designed to counter recent market-share gains by rival beverages. “Look, we’ve still got 60% [of alcoholic-beverage consumption], but consumers had turned their heads to other forms of alcoholic beverages a little bit, and we, as brewers, had stopped talking about beer.”

The spots will roll out during this weekend’s NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, and will also be aired on local telecasts throughout the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Mr. Lachky said that, despite the expensive basketball airtime, overall spending will be “nominal,” while declining to provide specifics.

The commercials will also have an Internet presence, and visitors to herestobeer.com are able to vote for their own ideal drinking partner, with the author of the best entry receiving an Oktoberfest trip to Munich, Germany.

Since its February launch, the site has received 170,000 hits.

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