I'm watching the Olympics now, and an ad for Budweiser just played with the prominent tag "Great American Lager." This has probably been playing for months, but there's something about it now that the context has changed. It feels a little ... desperate. You may be many things, Bootveizer, maybe even the king of beer (sales), but the Great American Lager? It's embarrassing to keep saying it.
The other ad is the Michelob series, ubiquitous, and playing at least every hour. It touts the Michelob family (Amber Bock, etc.) as high art--in what looks like a clear attempt to score some micro cred. It's not an egregious commercial; in fact, I like to see a macro adopting the if-you-can't-beat-'em,-join-'em posture. Perhaps someone who takes a tentative step in this direction will keep on going, right on over to a better-made, authentic craft beer.
But the upshot is this: it seems like A-B is a company off it's game. It used to dictate beer culture, dominating everything from the frat-boy segment to the old-man, damn-isn't-that-Beechwood-aging-tasty segment and everything in-between. But now it's Bud who's chasing culture; it has to try to re-establish itself as an American brewer in the minds of drinkers, and it has had no credible response to the craft segment. Not a whole lot more to say, just interesting.