Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Irony, thy name is Bud Light

I have a hard time fathoming how ad-execs who work for beer companies sleep at night. For example, last year the local catholic high school had a fish fry. The signs advertising the event read: "Notre Dame High School Fish Fry / Such and such a date / sponsored by Bud Light." That's right. A beer company was sponsoring a high school fish fry.

Genius or diablolical? Both?

But sponsoring events for underage drinkers is only one prong of Bud Light's advertising strategy. Bud Light has also produced a series of ads called "Real Men of Genius." Knowing of my love for the Lone Star State, my friends told me about this ad ("Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy"). I have to admit, as a Texan at heart, I find it pretty funny. But the crazy thing is, I went to a website that had at one time had the ad on it but had taken it down. Here is a copy of the letter stating why:

From: Miller, Scott D (Legal) [mailto:Scott.Miller@anheuser-busch.com] Sent: Tue 8/16/2005 6:43 PM To: Contact Cc: Subject: Unauthorized use of Anheuser-Busch commercials and trademarks


August 16, 2005

Whipnet Technologies

Dear Mr. (Whipnet)

It has come to our attention that the web page your firm has posted at http://budlight.whipnet.com/budlight.htm contains unauthorized audio files of many Anheuser-Busch radio advertisements that are part of our long-running and successful Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" campaign (the "Advertisements"), plus numerous prominent references to BUD LIGHT.

The Advertisements are copyrighted content owned by Anheuser-Busch, and your unauthorized use of the Advertisements on your site infringes Anheuser-Busch's exclusive rights under 17 U.S.C. § 106. Moreover, your use of the Advertisements and BUD LIGHT references creates a significant likelihood that visitors to the site will be confused as to Anheuser-Busch's relationship with the site, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1125(a) and the statutory and common law of various states, including Texas and Missouri.

We are writing to offer you the opportunity to resolve this matter simply and expeditiously. We demand that you immediately remove the Anheuser-Busch references and Advertisements from your website and respond to this letter confirming your agreement not to post any further content owned by Anheuser-Busch on your site, nor make use of any Anheuser-Busch trademarks. If we do not hear from you by Friday, August 26, 2005, we reserve the right to
pursue any and all legal remedies available to Anheuser-Busch. We look forward to your prompt response.

Very truly yours,
Scott D. Miller
Associate General Counsel (Phone number withheld)

So let me get this straight.... This guy is posting THEIR advertisements and they are threatening to sue him. What they pay millions of dollars a year to produce and air, he is putting out there for FREE! But instead of thanking him, they are concerned about the ads, which are unaltered, being aired and the "numerous references" to their product! Isn't that hillarious?

P.S. I am also aware of the irony that you could argue I am airing a Bud Light ad.

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