What NOT to do in a user generated ad contest
Buzz Friday for June 29, 2007

Inside//Out: Bud.tv

budtv_logo.jpgInside//Out is a new series where I will take you on a video tour of what companies are doing in the online and social media spaces. First up is Bud.tv.

Undoubtedly by now you've heard (or read) about the issues that Bud.tv has faced. From low audience numbers to the CEO claiming the site would "probably fade", it hasn't been an easy road for Budweiser.

Here is episode 1 of Inside//Out:

[Feed readers please click through to the post to see the video.]

The Problems:
Looking at the site as it stands right now I can tell you a number of reasons for the lack of traffic and the bad press the site has received.

  • Poor architecture and design. From the main landing page through the rest of the site, it lacks the dynamic, engaging feel of many other social media sites. There is no preview of content, no photography or even a welcome message. On top of that, somebody got drunk on the Web2.0, shiny button Kool-Aid, but forgot about the user experience. Menus have some issues once inside as well. All in all it ads up to a frustrating experience.
  • What is there for female viewers? This site is 100% geared towards men. If I were a woman coming to this site I would probably jump ship pretty quick (any women out there want to comment on this?). I know men are the primary Bud target, but come on. Half of the world is female and women control the majority of the spending money in this country so why not balance out the content and try to reach as many people as possible?
  • Social media is locked out. The only real interaction possible on this site is emailing a clip to a friend, rating a video and downloading clips. That's it. I can't embed them in my blog or share with anybody who doesn't have an account. The main problem is that Bud isn't making it easy for me to engage with their content in the networks I already belong to. They're making me join another network. That's not going to fly for much longer as people find the places their friends are and settle in.

The Opportunities:
For as many problems as Bud.tv has, there are some bright spots here.

  • (Mostly) good content. The content on the site is well produced, funny and lends itself perfectly to being passed along. One problem is the lack of content for women, the other is the mechanism to pass it along in other networks.
  • Proactive marketing. I understand and agree with Budweiser's take on drinking responsibility, but it's not a reason to limit content. Instead, use the opportunity to push the drink responsibly message or partner with M.A.D.D. for the messaging. Bud content is already getting to sites like YouTube. Why not be proactive and add value to the community?

Picture 10.pngWhat should they do?

  • Scrap the Bud.tv site. Yes, scrap the entire site. It's a lost effort now. Instead, partner with video networks like YouTube and Joost to create Budweiser-branded channels. Add drinking responsibility messages at the start and end of each clip and really engage with and educate the audience. Both video systems have ways to authenticate age so why not use it? These sites make it easy to share content and let people spread the ideas in email and through social media outlets like blogs.
  • Use the power of the networks to communicate. People will be able to respond to videos with their own videos. Respond back to them. Be proactive. Reply to comments. Make somebody fully responsible for monitoring the site during business hours.
  • Engage in other networks. Create and engage on services like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. to promote responsible drinking and engage in those micro-conversations. I think a blog focused on the brewers would be fascinating as a behind-the-scenes look at Anheuser Busch. The company has a great history and has good product. Use it, leverage sponsorships in auto racing to build momentum with unique content.

Get out there Budweiser and go to where the people are. Don't create "one more place" for people to have to go. Make it easy for them to pull you in to their lives.

I'd love to get feedback on this new video series as well as on Bud.tv. You can leave a comment or email me.

[Note:] The idea for this post came from a conversation I had with Phil Gillman and Doug Meacham last week on Twitter. It started as I thought about how this idea of original content went wrong for Bud.

MattDickman Is wondering why budweiser didn't create a channel on Joost or YouTube instead of doing Bud.tv  (12:52 PM June 22, 2007)
PhilGillman @mattdickman they seem to be really stressed about the whole age restricted access... not that they couldnt have done that on joost   (10:02 AM June 22, 2007)
MattDickman @PhilGillman I thought about the age restriction too, but they could definitely do that on Joost. In fact, Joost probably already has it.   (01:45 PM June 22, 2007)
DougMeacham @MattDickman: That is a great question! Perhaps I've missed their strategy, but Isn't the point to get brand engagement vs channel traffic?  (02:36 PM June 22, 2007)
MattDickman @DougMeacham Precisely! With a market so broad, why not go to the users instead of creating one more place? Silly.   (03:08 PM June 22, 2007)
PhilGillman @mattdickman yeah - they ask for your age in the joost setup, and also have age recommendations on channels   (12:54 PM June 22, 2007)

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