They were the croaks heard ’round the world.
On January 29, 1995, Budweiser ran their new ‘Frog’ commercial in the A1 spot of Super Bowl XXIX. It wasn’t the brand’s usual approach, but the traditional Budweiser ads weren’t going to sell beer to the intended market of fresh-faced twenty-five year olds. As one Fast Company article wrote, “It wasn’t anyone’s father’s idea of a Budweiser commercial.”
It was a risk…a 2.5 million dollar risk to be exact.
But they all sensed that if the concept were properly executed, then people would not only remember it, they’d likely never forget it.
Looking back, you couldn’t get far at the time without anyone mimicking, joking, and playing recordings of “Bud . . . bud . . . weis . . . bud . . . weis . . . bud . . . weis . . . bud . . . weis . . . er.” The frogs became media sensations overnight and Budweiser went far beyond hitting their target demographic – they hit the world.
Budweiser brand director Mike Brooks was new to the company and had a lot to lose if the ad campaign was poorly received. Fortunately for Brooks, that wasn’t the case. After the ad presentation, August Busch IV asked Brooks if he believed in the ‘Frog’ campaign. He confirmed that he did, so much so that he was willing to stake his job on it.
There are a number of lessons we can learn here from Brooks. For one, the importance of being memorable with branding and knowing your audience. But I think my favorite part about this story is the risk Brooks was willing to take.
The next time you have a big idea — one that your truly believe in, stop and ask yourself, “Am I willing to stake my job on it?”