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A-B's Lachky Fires Salvo Toward Miller-Coors Venture

But Brewer's Ad Chief Also Has Harsh Words for Bud.TV

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PHOENIX (AdAge.com) -- Anheuser-Busch advertising chief Bob Lachky came out firing today, not only at the brewer's biggest rival but also at A-B's most recent marketing flub.
A-B's Bob Lachky was as critical of his own company as he was of rivals Miller and Coors during his address at the ANA's Masters or Marketing conference.
A-B's Bob Lachky was as critical of his own company as he was of rivals Miller and Coors during his address at the ANA's Masters or Marketing conference. Credit: Rohanna Mertens

Speaking at the annual Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference here, Mr. Lachky, exec VP-creative and global industry development, had tough words for Bud.TV, the company's highly touted but largely unsuccessful attempt at creating an online entertainment channel. (See video excerpts.)

'Flawed idea'
Somewhat enigmatically he called the website a "flawed idea but brilliant concept." But when he listed its shortcomings, Mr. Lachky was more precise. Bud.TV was bedeviled by an unwieldy registration process; installed to keep underage web surfers out, it ultimately turned a lot of legal beer drinkers away as well. He lamented that such a gate -- it required that users provide their driver's license numbers -- was needed, while acknowledging that a company like A-B doesn't have much choice in the matter, even if it drove consumers away.

"The nature of the consumer today is to go anywhere they want online," he said.

He also criticized the attempt to keep the Bud brand at arm's length from the content. He said, "I don't understand why you'd have Bud.TV and not have anything branded on it."

Discounts rivals' claim
Mr. Lachky also took aim at the recently announced decision by SAB Miller and Molson Coors to combine their U.S. operations in a move that the companies claim will yield $500 million in annual cost savings.

"Everyone took that $500 million in efficiencies at face value," he said. "It means they're going to be closing breweries and cutting people's jobs.

"How do you marry to very distinct cultures," he said. "There's one culture that's about building brands vs. one that all about growing share and brand denigration."
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