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?”