Bud's super 'Bowl'

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Anheuser-busch this month powers up one of the longest-running consumer promotions in history with a return to TV ad support and unprecedented on-site marketing activities for "Bud Bowl."

The annual national promotion will link to creative concepts in Super Bowl TV commercials for the first time since 1995, and A-B will ramp up "Bud Bowl" activities in the host city of Tampa, Fla.

With this game plan, the 13th annual "Bud Bowl" returns to its roots by orienting the effort around the TV commercials. A-B will air eight spots during CBS' Jan. 28 broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV, said executives at the brewery. Several will feature the stars of Budweiser's famous "Whassup?!" network TV campaign created by DDB Worldwide, Chicago. The actors also will be part of retail and on-site promotional activities in Tampa from Jan. 25 through game day.

"We've come full circle from where we started with beer bottles playing beer bottles in a game on TV mirrored by the promotion, to several years of allowing the promotion to stand more on its own. This year we're returning to a promotion directly reflecting the creative in our TV broadcast," said Dan Hoffmann, Budweiser's director of marketing.


There are several new twists this year as A-B strives to top all previous "Bud Bowls" in total media impressions, event marketing and prizes.

The promotion's overall theme is how to improve a Super Bowl party, with the "Whassup?!" stars appearing in retail materials and on TV during the game. They also will appear on-site in Tampa's Ybor entertainment district on game weekend, participating in A-B-sponsored radio promotions and live concerts.

Tampa, via its Ybor district, plays a bigger role than Super Bowl host cities have in the past for "Bud Bowl." A-B has formed a partnership with the city allowing the No. 1 beer marketer to become title sponsor of the Ybor district for Super Bowl week.

"This is the first time we've had the opportunity to centralize our on-site marketing activities on one location, thanks to Tampa's layout, and it's allowed us to bring a lot of promotional elements together we haven't been able to do in other Super Bowl host cities," said Dan McHugh, director of retail sales promotions for A-B.

Bud World, the ongoing educational center showing the history of A-B and how beer is made, will be on hand, and Budweiser's Clydesdale horses will lead parades daily in Ybor.

Also in Tampa, A-B will introduce its newly redesigned blimp, formerly called Bud One and now christened Budweiser.com.

"We're driving customers to our Web site now every time they see our airship, so we're getting brand exposure and channeling people to enter promotions on our Web site," Mr. McHugh said.

This year, "Bud Bowl" offers a new online twist: One of the eight commercials also will be featured in a longer, "director's cut" format on budweiser.com and budbowl.com.

For the first time since the 1996 Olympics, A-B is providing a major cash giveaway sweepstakes to on-premise accounts. Instead of offering one national prize, this year's "Share the Cash" promotion divides prize money among 27 local markets, so one bar or nightclub in each market will win $15,000, to be shared by party patrons. In Tampa, A-B will offer a prize of $20,000 each to five nightclubs, to be divided among the patrons of each winning establishment.

A-B is flooding supermarkets and convenience stores with about 3 million multipage promotional pieces echoing the party advice offered by the TV campaign characters, including recipes, ideas for party entertainment and the opportunity for consumers to "register your Super Bowl party" to win Motorola cell phones.

Participating agencies include promotion shops Momentum Marketing, St. Louis, and Fusion, Chicago; DDB and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, share creative duties for Budweiser.

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