. The Transom .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NFL reputation keeps getting better and better

Just when I thought the reputation of the NFL couldn't get any worse, I read about its latest venture. The NFL has actually hired 'experts' to spot and stop players from flashing gang signs during televised games. This of course leads one to believe that a) many NFL players are active gang members, b) the gang activity is so rampant that 'experts' need to be hired to spot it, and c) did I mention many NFL players must be active gang members?

For a league that spends millions of dollars in advertising trying to convince the public that it's players are socially responsible, active in the community, and good people, it sure seems like a waste of money. I guess they got the 'active in the community' part right, they just didn't expect gang activity to constitute "the community."

And they didn't explain who these 'experts' are but I'm dying to know who promotes their services in such a way that is searchable for something like this. Can you imagine the interview process? An NFL executive sits across the table from the candidate quizzing him by flashing gang signs. "What's this mean?" "Who am I dissing now?"


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Greatest Marketing Challenge of the 21st Century

Because of the recent InBev acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, we get to sit back and watch probably the greatest marketing challenge of the 21st century. On one hand, we have an iconic American brand that stands for America as much as it stands for beer. It has been family owned and operated since before the Civil War. It positioned itself against its competitors as truly American when they were bought by foreign interests. It is currently running advertisements all over creation claiming to be "The Great American Lager." It is, as its recent acquiring CEO Carlos Brito panned it, "America in a bottle."

Now on the other hand we have Mr. Brito's company, InBev, an international beer behemoth that is known for keeping brands but destroying acquired companies through extreme cost cutting and cultural gutting. Through whatever reasons, AB let itself be put in the position to be acquired, and InBev was as prepared as any company to do it. Striking quickly and openly, InBev got its trophy.

So the great marketing challenge of course is how to convince the American public that now being owned by a foreign company is a good thing and Budweiser is still the King of Beers, American, family-oriented, etc. Of course, the stockholders don't care. They just made a pile of cash. But is that worth an iconic American brand?

All eyes for the next 12-18 months will be on Anheuser-Busch InBev's marketing department and agencies as they try to achieve the nearly impossible.