Bud.tv Tastes Stale, Flat

So what do you get when you bring a macrobrewer’s mentality to the microcontent world? How about tired sketch comedy cliches, prehistoric treatment of women and more product placement than one can reasonably stomach.

bud-tv1.jpgIn a desperate attempt to be edgy and authentic on one hand and broadly appealing on the other, the new Bud.tv effort from Budweiser puts writers from the Howard Stern show and bit actors from Will Ferrell movies into a format I can only describe as “forcibly viral by committee.”

Not to say that that the content won’t appeal to its target demo, the twentysomething American male. But from a business standpoint, they’ve spent a lot of money on production in order to get that “cheap and cheesy” feel. Which is the kind of spendy, marketing-centric inauthenticity that tends turn off the very hipster tastemaker the throwback styling and meta-humor about beer marketing would indicate they’re trying to court.

I’m not sure what Lorne Manly was watching when he wrote this long analysis in the New York Times Magazine, but it couldn’t possibly have been Bud.tv:

Bud.TV may be a marketing venture at heart, but it is marketing sotto voce.

Each “Happy Hour” short starts with an intro theme featuring — wait for it — a bottle of Budweiser coasting down a bar into the hands of a thirsty customer. “Donnie the Life Coach,” a randy neanderthal, makes his office in (probably the same) bar. So, sure, it’s sotto voce — but only relative to the ear-splitting decibels emitted by the rest of the Anheuser-Busch marketing juggernaut.

Of course, it was an uphill struggle to win my love from the moment I went to Bud.tv and not a single video was on the page. I had to click, which opened a new, fixed-size window, another pet peeve. Gripes about the Bud.tv registration experience from paidContent and Lost Remote echoed my own, which I’d be charitable in describing as onerously creepy. Once I finally did get to watch the videos, the display was tiny and the navigation needlessly confusing.

We would embed a sample video here so you could judge for yourself, but that’s not an option. You’ll have to put yourself through the registration process if you want to take a look around. Yup, real viral.

So good luck with this, Anheuser-Busch. But I won’t be tuning in again any time soon.