"Green buddies, I've got some bad news," a lizard named Louie tells a couple of frogs named Bud and Er. "We got canned. They want us off the rocks by the end of the day."
This opening spot of Super Bowl XXXIII for Budweiser, by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, set up a meta-narrative for two more Bud spots to come during the game while tossing some swampland/workplace intrigue into the mix. The famous Budweiser spokesfrogs Bud, Weis and Er had debuted four years earlier during Super Bowl XXIX in an ad out of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, called "Frogs." They returned in a simple gag via DDB Needham for Super Bowl XXX ("Winter"), then were joined by chameleons Louie and Frankie in 1998's Super Bowl XXXII (courtesy of Goodby), starting with "Bad Day to Be a Frog."
By 1999, for some reason (commercial logic!), Louie had been holding down Weis' job in the "Bud-Weis-Er" line-up, but after disclosing his termination in the first Super Bowl XXXIII Bud spot, things would only get worse for the chatty lizard: In the next spot he finds out he's being replaced by a nameless ferret ("Ferret Gets the Job"). In a third spot ("Frogs' Final Act"), Bud and Er end up bitch-slapping Louie by vindictively slapping him with their frog tongues. There is apparently no HR department to complain to in the swamp.
It might not have done any good anyway, with more than one force aligned against much further frog marketing. As Bob Lachky, VP-brand management at Anheuser-Busch, told The New York Times that year:
The phasing out of the characters is attributable to a belief that ''the lifetime of our icons is about two years,'' Mr. Lachky said, rather than to widespread complaints by advocacy organizations that they appeal to children.
AGENCY: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
QUARTER AIRED: Q1