Agencies Shocked That Anheuser-Busch Now Wants Ads That Actually Sell Beer

Last Updated Sep 14, 2009 6:26 PM EDT

Real human beings are on the sharp end of those cuts made by Anheuser Busch Inbev, according to this illuminating piece in the St. Louis Business Journal. BNET noted in February that A-B was one among many clients that were cutting or delaying payments to agencies.

The SLBJ story illustrates two things: Yes, client budget cuts do indeed lead directly to people losing their jobs; and that now A-B is demanding ads that actually work, ad agencies are experiencing a bit of a culture shock.

At Shaw Co., co-owner Greg Litwicki and his partner Steve Brenner:

... were forced to lay off half of their 20-person staff. Shaw projects total revenue will come in at about $2.5 million this year, 11 percent off 2008.
To stay on AB's roster, here's what Shaw now has to do, according to Litwicki:
It used to be enough to do brand building and create an image that would ultimately drive sales. Now they also want to see the component that will actually incentivize the consumer to pick up the product. When you come in with those solutions, they are very receptive.
An ad that will incentivize the consumer to pick up the product? Fancy that! Whatever will these picky clients demand next?