27th June 2021
8th November 2012 - Budweiser flying high with boozy pilot PR
When we hear someone describe a particular person as ‘attention seeking’ almost all of us would consider it as a rather negative personal trait.
But as people of PR persuasion, when we hear the same words used to describe some kind of brand or business then we usually consider it as a compliment and a mark of strong public relations sensibility.
And if you’re not entirely sure exactly what we mean then you only have to look at the case of American alcoholic beverage company Anheuser-Busch, which has just made a widely publicised request to remove product placements of its Budweiser logo from a brand-new live-action feature film.
The film in question is the critically acclaimed thriller Flight, which stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who miraculously guides a commercial jet to safety following an operating malfunction.
However, the hero status of the pilot is soon put into question when the subsequent air crash investigation discovers that he had been flying the plane while under the influence of alcohol.
Throughout the film, Washington is regularly shown guzzling from a can of Budweiser as well as swigging away on a variety of different brands of vodka.
But shortly after the film’s release, the vice president of Budweiser, Rob McCarthy, issued a statement to the Associated Press denouncing the placement of its brand and the misuse of its products.
The company also said it wanted the distributor of the film, Paramount Pictures, to remove all visual references to the brand in future releases of the movie, such as its DVD and on-demand formats.
As a result of Budweiser’s shrewd PR manoeuvre, it has received worldwide media attention for its public disapproval of irresponsible drinking and its endeavours to disassociate itself from the central message of the film.
However, Budweiser has got far more from this than initially meets the eye.
First, its actions have now clearly served to draw far more attention towards its product placement than it would’ve ever otherwise received.
And, secondly, because the company has portrayed itself as the ‘good guys’ in all of this, the visual images of Budweiser throughout the film will instead make a more meaningful and positive impact, which is all any brand of beer could ever ask for.
About the author
Kevin is the principal contributor and longest-serving member of our blog-writing team. He also runs his own website copywriting business Write Online.
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