Anheuser-Busch to Drop Risque Commercials

Beer Company President Tells Ad Execs National Mood Has Shifted

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MIAMI, Fla. ( -- Anheuser-Busch, which had been criticized for airing raunchy commercials during the Super Bowl, will alter the content of its ads to be more in line with changing public feelings about broadcast indecency, the company's president told a meeting of the American Association of Advertising Agencies today.

'People are drawing boundaries' that present a challenge to marketers, August Busch IV told today's session.

'Got to get the mood'
Appearing as a speaker at the 4A's Management Conference at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, August Busch IV told the assembled ad executives that "[w]e have to get the mood. People are drawing boundaries and we've got to figure [them] out. Living life is what we sell."

He said he anticipated the public's tolerance of edgy TV advertising would become "even tighter come November," when the presidential election campaign reaches its peak.

Mr. Busch said Super Bowl Budweiser ads such as the sleigh ride spot, which featured a horse flatulence, and another featuring a crotch-biting dog would not be shown again. "I think it is important for all of us in the advertising community to understand what the public mood is. ... We did not expect the reaction" and controversy triggered by Janet Jackson's breast-baring halftime stunt, he said.

Budweiser's flatulent-horse commercial.
The Bud Light crotch-biting dog was another of the company's Super Bowl ads.

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However, he also noted that the sleigh ride ad was ranked No. 1 on America Online's public online poll of most popular spots.

In the future, he said, the company would look at commercial ideas and evaluate them carefully. "Nobody has a good feel [for what is appropriate in the current climate]. It has become increasingly more difficult."

The beer giant's move comes as Victoria's Secret reportedly dropped plans for its annual network lingerie show earlier this week, and other marketers are showing more restraint in the use of risque advertising images and messages.

Mr. Busch also said the company would be looking more closely at other marketing disciplines such as product placement, and singled out HBO's Sex and the City as a show that had a huge impact on the wines and spirits business.

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