Monthly Archives: April 2012
Once again, another addition of a Budweiser animal commercial this time a Lobster. Who also had its own series of commercials like the ants from the previous two articles. This character however didn’t make too much impact towards the public compared to the Ants or Frogs. Which is all fine, cause if you never heard of the Budweiser Lobster before, you do now. As for this week I will be discussing the commercials and the character itself.
The premise of the commercials are simple, a regular lobster who is about to get cook and the only way for it to escape is by taking a Budweiser bottle hostage. The individual who tries to cook the lobster would try to get the beer back and kill the lobster at the same time. However the lobster would find a way to evade his doom and manage to escape through the front door. The concept was used for the two commercials I found off of youtube. First one takes place at a restraunt while the second one takes place at an apartment building. Like the Bud Ice Penguin, you’d wonder if these two commercials feature the same lobster or are two separate lobsters who both crave for beer by stealing it from humans.
If you guessed that this character was created by the Character Shop company, then you’re none the wiser. The Character Shop company hired David McNally as the director for these commericals.You might know him best as the director of “Kangaroo Jack”, which was inspired by an urban myth and spawn a direct to video animated sequel which received lukewarm reception. The movie looked like it would have spawn a marketing deal due to the title character. But sadly it never happened, when was the last time people talked about that movie? It’s always good to see that Character Shop like to use different people to direct these ads. Numberous Lobster puppets were used for this commercial including one that runs which functions the same way as the xenomorph face huger puppets from Aliens. While the bolgging eyes of the lobster echoes the bulging eyes of the Anteater I was talking about last week.
The lobster didn’t make any merchandise like the Budweiser Ant series or Budweiser Frog series had their own. But not all mascots need their own merchandise, in my opinion it was a clever idea to have a hostile lobster who views a bottle of Budweiser as either a priceless artifact or a living being considered precious towards the humans. I wish there was more to say about this character, but unfortunately there isn’t any other background info besides what I just mentioned in the last paragraph. Next week’s article will have a longer production history on the Budweiser Tortoises. Until then, enjoy the commercials on the lobster below.
As a follow-up to the Ant commercials, I decided to do an article on this critter, the Budweiser Anteater. Much like how I kept the Budweiser Chameleons, Tree Frog, Gator, & Ferret as separate articles from the Frog article. I felt it was appropriate to do the same for this character as well. Specially when there’s a lot to talk about that would have made last week’s article too long. So after going through some backstories on this creature, I proudly present the Budweiser Anteater for this week’s article.
The commercial starts with an anteater sitting next to an ant hill in the middle of a desert. As we see him sitting there, we also see a bottle of Budweiser in the foreground, stuck upside down in another ant hill nearby. The anteater then starts to snuffle about, snorting and kicking up the dust beneath him. He then sticks his long nose into the empty ant hill, searching for ants with his long sticky tongue. The critter starts to breathe deeply inside the mound as he hopes to suck up some ants that are probably hiding inside. As he tries to vacuum the inside of the ant hole, the Bud bottle that was previously motionless starts to move. It’s as though its being tugged by some ants below, until suddenly the bottle disappears underground. As the anteater continues to suck inside the mound, something ends up covering his snout and its not an ant. The anteater’s eyes widen in a Joe Dante style, and he pulls his nose from the hole. He discovered that he accidentally sucked the empty Bud bottle onto the end of his snout! As he sits there with his nose covered, confused and trying with all his might to pull it off, he then sees his prey walking by with a new bottle of Budweiser. One of the ants does a victory dance in front of him to the tune of the Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive”(Which I swore I thought it was sung by women until I actually learned who the heck Bee Gee was), while the other ants carry a new, ice-cold bottle of Budweiser. The commercial concludes with the usual tagline and it turns out that either the trap for the anteater was unintentional or the ants knew the anteater would fall for the trap. Either way the ants now have some beer and amusement.
While the Budweiser Ants commercials were produced by the ad agency called DDB Needham and animated by the Digital Domain company. This time those two companies teamed up with the Character Shop company under the supervision of Rick Lazzarini in order to create the Anteater. Which was a fully functional animatronic puppet that took only four weeks to construct. Research was made possible, when the special effects team took a trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo to study the anteaters that are in captivity there. Photographs, video footage, and reference books made the job easier for the team to create the creature. The puppet is life-size and resembles an average anteater with the exception of its eyes. In order for its snot to fit inside the bottle prop, it’s height had to be scaled up to 15% more. While the desert featured in the commercial was an actual outdoor location. Vasquez Rocks was the place, located southwest of Palmdale, CA. The park in general is famous for its rock formations which lead it to be a famous filming location for hundreds of TV shows and movies. In particular this was the same location used as the Command Center from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers(Or American version of Super Sentai) and the planet where Captain Kirk fights against a Gorn in a set up death match in the Arena episode. While the movies that used this park are Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, Little Miss Sunshine, Holes, Jingle All the Way(Turbo Man TV show scene), 2001 Planet of the Apes, Austin Powers Original, 1994 Flintstones, Army of Darkness, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, Short Circuit, Blazing Saddles, & the original Dracula.
The animatronic puppet was animated by a combination of hand, rod and radio controls, and it took a total of five skilled puppeteers to operate. Three of the performers worked underneath a raised 4 foot-high platform using rod puppetry (with mechanical enhancements) to animate the anteater’s hands, feet, and head. Two other puppeteers used radio control to animated sophisticated mechanisms in the anteater’s snout, nose snuffle, mouth, eyes, ears, and brow. The anteater also was able to look as if it were breathing as two Whoopee cushions were placed under its chest fur which expanded and retracted. For the shot where the anteater snorts, creating clouds of dust, a flexible tube ran from the tip of its’ snout to a can of compressed air. Two short taps on the valve trigger were enough for the snorts to kick up dirt realistically.
I vaguely remember seeing this commercial along with the other Budweiser Ant commercial. Despite the critter being in only one commercial, I do regard the anteater to be one of the most memorable one shot characters for the Budweiser commercials. I’m surprised a crossover between the Budweiser Ants & Budweiser Frogs never came about. It’s a commercial I would have created, except with a dozen more beer mascots. With the article on this critter published, I’m officially done talking about the Budweiser Ant series. For the next beer article, it’ll be about a lobster who also happens to love beer.
When Budweiser had Frogs for their ads, they also had ants as well. The only difference is that the ants didn’t make as much of an impact on the public as the frogs did. But that doesn’t mean that this series of ads were bad to watch. It’s just Bud, Weis, & Er were so appealing that anyone would say that was awesome! What was done differently about this ad, well you know how you never see the frogs actually drink beer? For these ads it actually does show you the ants drinking the beer, except off-screen in a sort of speak. So let’s discuss about this colony of drunken insects.
The first commercial is really simple it takes place in a desert, and we then see an ant. It says something in ant to the others something like “Come on” judging by the movement of its claw. We then see that the ant is leading its bodies who are all carrying a bottle of Budweiser beer. By the time they head towards their ant hill, they lift the bottle into the entrance and all of them manage to get inside before the entrance was blocked by the top of the bottle. Without knowing what’s going on inside, we see the bottle move with the sound of fix of a bottle cap being removed(implying the ants got a bottle cap opener before getting the bottle. The contents of the beer started to pour into the ant hill, which immediately it appeared the ants have their own boom box as the ground starts to vibrate with the song “Get Down Tonight”. Now we’re left to assume that those ants are now swimming in beer, it probably be like that scene in Antz where the whole colony was getting flooded, except if the colony was flooded with beer, the ants wouldn’t avoid it they’d immediately start to jump right in. The second commercial was made two years after the first one and takes place right after where we left off. After the bottle was empty, the music of the boom box suddenly stops. No more beer means no more party for the ants. So several of the ants push the bottle out of the entrance. Carried it to a formation of rocks and set it diangley and they immediately fled offscreen. Only to see an ants jump on top of the bottle while the other ants jump on the other end of the bottle which kaunches the bottle high into the air. The little ant was having a good time of it’s life, along with background music of “Ride of the Valykeries” cause like I said in my Pizza Head Show review, it’s such a great song they always use it for anything related to being in the air. The ant’s buddies watch the ant ride on the bottle which lands into a recycling bin. The ant who rode the bottle comes up to the top of the bin to signal the ants that it’s a-ok. The ants who witness the whole thing started with cheer with “That’s the way, I like it” song played in the background. With the closing tagline that says “Brewing solutions for a better environment”. Which tells us that the Budweiser company is all in for recycling. You get extra money if you recycle glass along with plastic and aluminum.
Ironically these ants first appear during the Super Bowl in 1995 as well as the frogs did. Both about two non-human creatures craving for beer, except both were directed by two different directors. While the Budweiser Frog series was directed by Gore Verbinski of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, these series of commercials were directed by Simon West(Who you might know best as the director of Con Air & first Tomb Raider movie). Art Direction made possible by Mark Gettner & the writer behind the idea was Patrick Knoll. The ants came and went for when it comes to beer advertisements. We wouldn’t hear anything about them again until they made a come back for the 2008 olympics. That’s right it was a commercial that only aired in china. It was the same CGI ants like the ones from the commercials I just talked about. Only it has to do with them getting cans of Bud rather than a bottle of Bud. Which all of them pulled the openers on the cans and use them to form the olympics logo which they use a search light that makes it look like the actual logo itself. The Chinese see the logo in the sky and cheered. There’s nothing else to say about these commercials, for next week I’ll be talking about one more Budweiser Ant related commercial which will be about an Anteater. Until then enjoy whatever I found on youtube.
It was last summer, when I previously did an article on a beer mascot. Course after doing five articles on the Budweiser Frog series, I took a break by doing other articles. But right now I decided to do more, cause Budweiser had other mascots instead of the Frogs, Chameleons, Tree Frog, Gator, & Ferret. For this week I’ll be doing one that is so forgotten that I hardly knew anyone who knows it’s existence. That mascot is of course the Bud Ice Penguin for Bud Ice Beer.
The brand was first introduced in 1994 by Anheuser-Busch, no introduction needed. Back when there’s an increase of alcoholic beverages that are beer but fall into a new category called iced beer. Which is basically pale lager beer which has undergone some degree of fractional freezing which creates a higher alcohol level than average brands of beer. Except iced beer is cheaper to purchase, which is a good thing when today’s economy isn’t as good as it was back in 1994. When times are rough, people need to have something to drown their sorrows. And if iced beer was expensive than people would result to buying non-alcoholic beer. Like how regular Bud had frogs to associate with it, Bud Ice had its own character for its ads. Which is an appropriate one, since its iced beer so it’s common sense for a penguin to be used for the ads.
When it comes to beer drinking penguins, I always think of Pen Pen from the ever popular mecha anime Evangelion. Usually seen drinking beer, due to Misato Katsuragi being a boozer. Unfortunately, Pen Pen never was seen in any beer ads from my knowledge. Specially when beer ads in Japan are done differently, heck you can buy a can of beer out of vending machine so easily that anyone under age could obtain a cold one. I could rant on about how different the beer industry works in Japan, but I’ll save that for a future article when I might consider doing an article on Akira Kurosawa & Francis Ford Coppola’s collaboration with a Japanese beer commercial.
Anyways back to the subject, the Bud Ice Penguin was created by the Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners company(the same people that produced the Franky & Louie Budweiser commercials and The Pizza Head Show) and first appeared in a 1996 Super Bowl commercial. Like the Budweiser Frogs, the commercial became such a hit, it was made into a series of ads. Each commercial is different from one another, usually the plot would be about an adventure, mystery, or a thriller theme to it. But thriller is the theme that is most common in these ads, due to the penguin showing up out of no where and scaring the day lights out of those who have a bottle of Bud Ice. That’s the bird’s main objective in all of the commercials, to get a bottle of Bud Ice without ever paying for his own. The penguin would go to great lengths in order to obtain his own Bud Ice, stalking individuals, hiding inside someone’s house, bashing one’s home until they give up their beer, or commit the biggest crime of the century by stealing the Stanley Cup and flee the country by plane as well as getting a Bud Ice on board a plane(you wouldn’t even get away with smuggling stolen trophies at an airport anymore). The character has a haunting presence to its personality, it looks like any normal penguin but always talks like a soft speaking psychopath with the catchphrase in every commercial “Doobie doobie doo”.
The ads were a hit among beer drinkers from ages 21 to 34, while sales on Bud Ice increased by 21% ever since introducing the character. The commercials were made within a two-year period. Spawning to a large number of merchandise including shirts, mugs, beer tap handles, and plastic balloons. The bird also was used for hockey promotions as well. By the late 90s, the character was abolished from the ads due to Munsingwear Men’s wear company demanded that they stop using the penguin for their ads due to them using a similar looking penguin for their own company. Basically they didn’t want consumers thinking a men’s wear store is associated with iced beer. So after the dispute was settled, the bird was never seen again. Ice beer continues to be manufactured by Budweiser and other companies, but the fact iced beer used to be symbolized by a penguin seems hard to believe in today’s era. Also this was before there was an over abundance of penguin movies which Bullcrap Man portrayed by James Rolfe complains how penguins get all of the attention and not other unique species of wild life.
My thoughts on the character, while I never actually remember seeing this character on TV, despite how I did see a good number of Budweiser Frog commercials whenever my dad is watching football. I do love the idea of an innocent looking penguin scaring off various people because of its obcession over one brand of beer is funny, amusing, and puts a twist to how I view penguins. This bird’s got nothing on Drake from “Pebble and the Penguin” or Feathers McGraw from “Wallace and Gromit”. Despite how Penguins are flightless birds, these old commercials prove you can reinvent the image of a flightless bird rather than continuously using the “Penguins can’t fly” logic from “Pebble and the Penguin”, “Opus Christmas Special”, or “The island episode from the Critic”. The joke was funny in Opus and The Critic, while Pebble and the Penguin didn’t use it well only cause they actually do show Rocko fly somehow despite how you don’t see him flap his wings. Making the chickens from Chicken Run look like they were doing it the hard way.
Well that’s everything there is to know about the Bud Ice Penguin, it be great if the character was revived but as long as Munsingwear is in business it won’t happen. Unless they somehow form an agreement so that way both sides can be satisfied with one another. Enjoy the commercials below this article, and for the rest of this month is nothing but beer articles. That’s right for the next five weeks will be on other beer mascots. Starting with the Budweiser Ants for next week.