Budweiser Steals Idea for Commercial

I don’t have a huge problem with Budweiser like some people do. Sure, I now prefer other beers to the “King of Beers,” but I had my days of loyal Bud drinking.

I also don’t get too bothered when some art form gets a commercial use. If I hear a favorite song or artist in a commercial, well, that’s just how the world works.

But a commercial Budweiser filmed in Canada for airing during the Super Bowl up there (yes, they do special commercials in Canada for an American football game) has me at odds with both of those two sentences.

The commercial below shows how a “flash mob” turned a rec league hockey game into a time to remember for the players on both teams. The popular hockey blog Puck Daddy posted some info about the story behind the commercial shoot.

The problem is, Budweiser didn’t have “an ingenious idea” as Greg Wyshynski wrote in the blog post. They just recycled an idea which Improv Everywhere did almost four years ago, just at a Little League baseball game. And IE didn’t have to pretend they were filming a documentary to pull off the stunt – they just did it. They also didn’t have to pay actors to be in the crowd. They used their ready cadre of “agents.” Read the story behind the “mission.”

But, wait. Improv Everywhere actually stole this idea … from themselves. The idea first came alive in 2004 with the “Best Gig Ever.” That night, IE found an unknown band and filled their Sunday evening concert with rabid fans.

One friend has already called me a Grinch on this, but it’s undeniable. I know people steal get inspiration all the time from other creative types, but this is pretty blatant and to pass it off as something that they just came up with themselves for the biggest commercial day on television is just pretty sad. I’m glad the players on those teams got to experience it, but they were merely tools for Budweiser to sell more beer. The band and the kids in the IE missions really just benefited from people trying to have fun and make someone’s experience special. So is Bud’s attempt to profit the “ingenious  idea?”

7 Responses to “ Budweiser Steals Idea for Commercial ”

  1. way to crush my preconceived notions that Bud commercials are truthful and clever, Brian. Next thing you’ll tell me is that horses don’t play football.
    Would it be rude of me to comment “Nice S” on the bud ad?

  2. Flash mobs is not a new idea. There are thousands of things on the web. I think it’s pretty clear that improv everywhere is hoping to score their own awareness by saying it was a rip off.

    The fact is Bud told an amazing story through this. Something that touches the heart of everyone that watches it.

    I was apart of it. I was there in the crowd. It was an amazing experience. It touched everyone and nobody ever said it was ripped off.

    Best,
    Brain Martin

  3. I didn’t say flash mobs were a new idea. A “flash mob” built around a sporting event with secret camera, surprise announcers and fans for an event that usually doesn’t draw fans is the thing that is not a new idea and is the thing Bud blatantly ripped off.

    IE has nothing to do with anything I have done. I did a phone interview with Charlie Todd once about seven years ago. I haven’t communicated with him since. IE doesn’t really need to build their awareness from what I can tell – they have 222 million video views on Youtube and almost a million subscribers.

    I also never said the video wasn’t heartwarming. It is. They did a wonderful job on it. They also stole the idea and used it to sell beer. You all who were there were just tools in their plan. Which makes it sad since the original was about spreading excitement, not selling beer and paying extras.

  4. […] were a few voices of dissent in the cacophony of praise. Brian from Regular Guy believed Budweiser lifted the idea from Improv Everywhere. That was a […]

  5. replication is the highest form of flattery…

    Did Budweiser claim this was an original idea?

  6. Just because you don’t lie about stealing something doesn’t mean you didn’t steal something. They never made any contact with IE about using their idea.

  7. […] were a few voices of dissent in the cacophony of praise. Brian from Regular Guy believed Budweiser lifted the idea from Improv Everywhere. That was a […]

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