Not long ago, Sam Calagione’s show Brew Masters was cancelled by the Discovery Channel (or as Sam says, it wasn’t renewed). The plot soon thickened when iconoclastic chef Anthony Bourdain tweeted that Brew Masters was killed by “Big Beer” who threatened to pull their ads off of Discovery and its sister networks if the show didn’t get the ax.
Now there’s a new reality show from a brewer about to hit ABC, but chances are it won’t suffer the same fate. Why? Because it’s made by Budweiser.
That’s right, starting January 21st, Bud United presents: The Big Time will start a seven episode run on Saturday afternoons. Like Bud’s ads (and their beer), the show won’t have anything to do with actual beer, rather it will follow people competing in different events, from batting against a big league pitcher, to driving stock cars, to vying for a spot to perform alongside Sting and Lady Gaga. Sounds fascinating. 😦
ABC limits the amount of drinking allowed on their network, so the program probably won’t show any consumption of Budweiser, just the winners using it to toast their success. Kind of like at the end of the Super Bowl XXI when Phil Simms said, “I’m going to Disney World!” but they didn’t actually show him screaming like a girl on Space Mountain.
Bud execs have also stated that the use of logos and other branded elements will be low key, because, “We want this to be natural.” Yes, there’s nothing more natural than a series of staged events paid for by an advertiser who can’t even show the use of its product during the program.
That sounds about as natural as brewing a lager with genetically-modified rice, so…uhh…I take that back. It’s perfectly natural for Budweiser.