Welcome to The Bud House

Category: Culture

For the World Cup tournament, Anheuser Busch is working the tried-and-true marketing campaign path, executing two initiatives from previous years:

  1. The “Man of the Match” award, where after the game viewers select the best player, who is then presented with a large trophy. (Who doesn’t love trophies?)
  2. The Budweiser Cup: A campaign that features local six-on-six tournaments around the world, with the champions winning a trip to see the World Cup, live.

This year, however, Anheuser-Busch is also launching an upfront, in-your-face (you guessed it) reality show. All online, all action, all LIVE. (Well, as much as possible.)

Called “Bud House,” the show has been described as “American Idol” meets “Survivor” meets “football.” Exactly 32 football fans from 32 countries, each representing their national team, will be placed together in a house in Capetown, Sout Africa, with their every move and word recorded by video cameras.

Started on June 11, the players battle  battle against each other for the entire course of the World Cup tournament, in a fashion similar to the popular “Big Brother” reality show. The series broadcasts 6-8 episodes (or rather, webisodes) a day, and the website features a live-streamed feed from the house.

The show certainly makes good use of the international reach of the World Cup, tying all 32 countries into a Budweiser-branded experience. Using the web as the primary broadcast channel is also a good setup: “webtime,” unlike airtime, is cheap, and if all goes well, the show will generate  tremendous buzz among football fans and those enchanted by the charms of reality TV.

But there’s a potential for reality webisode flare ups (perhaps, to some, this is exactly the show’s appeal): feelings run high enough when you put a bunch of strangers in a house together, but they run even higher when something precious is at stake: namely, a sports team’s reputation and ultimately, national pride.

One more item to consider: Though we might think the idea of a web series makes sense, it very much limits exposure to the broadband-connected nations. In South Africa, where our cherished World Cup is being held, and the Bud House is being filmed, internet penetration is just over 10%. Seriously! That means about 1 in 10 South African residents can actually see the action in Bud House unfold.

So how is Anheuser-Busch integrating locals into their campaign? Well, there is a high level of SMS use in the country, so they can actively participate in “Man of the Match” voting, as it is determined by online and mobile text voting.

But were any “Bud Cup” tournaments held in Africa? What else is this World Cup sponsor doing to promote the brand in-country, or otherwise targeting local consumers? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Email comments to interact@acclaro.com. If we get any good insights, we’ll publish them here!