According to Advertising Age — and they should know — Anhesuer-Busch is creating a new film and TV production division within the company to create original content. Initially at least the new programs will be primarily “humorous shorts and sitcom-type programs to be broadcast over the Internet and to cellphones, according to four people familiar with the matter, and could branch into full-length films.”
They’re also reporting that this venture will draw from A-B’s $1.56 billion marketing budget and will be to date its “most ambitious by far.” Several years ago A-B tried “Bud TV” but nothing much came of its single effort. A-B did its first product placement deal in Wedding Crashers last year and it was apparently a big success, leading to other Hollywood alliances. That experience was undoubtedly the impetus to take things even further but also to keep creative control.
Critics hope the venture will distract them from their core business but that doesn’t seem likely. A-B is too big with too many resources for that to be a reasonably probable outcome. I can’t help but wonder what the upcoming film Beerfest would look like if it was a Budweiser film?