SBD/September 15, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hill Holliday CEO Sheehan Critical Of A-B 9/11 Ad Re-air

Hill Holliday CEO Mike Sheehan, whose advertising firm created Anheuser-Busch's original Sept. 11 tribute spot that aired during Super Bowl XXXVI in '02, has “taken to the agency's blog to voice his disapproval of the brewer's decision to repurpose the Clydesdales ad and use it for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks this past weekend,” according to Parekh & Schultz of AD AGE. Sheehan in the blog post noted that “he was disappointed to see the same spot used again, with minor tweaks, such as brighter coloring and swapping out snow on the horse-trodden ground for grass.” Sheehan: "When it popped up on this Sunday's NFL games, it just felt a tad bit, well, wrong. The snow on the ground in the original spot was never meant to be swept away, replaced by what appears to be a computer's idea of Pro-Turf. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." A-B InBev “defends the spot, and the small changes that were made to it.” A-B VP/Marketing Paul Chibe in a statement said, "The subtle changes in the ad were intended to reflect the passing of time, and the most important point, that we should never forget those lost and affected by 9/11" (, 9/14). Hill Holliday VP & Dir of Corporate Communications Tracy Brady said that A-B is “not a Hill Holliday client anymore” (BOSTON HERALD, 9/15).

CHEERS FROM CONSUMERS: Ace Metrix, which rated 14 Sept. 11-themed ads, found that A-B’s ad featuring its Clydesdale horses “was the most effective of all the commemorative ads, and also one of the most effective ads so far this quarter.” The average Ace Score for beer ads “was 478 on a scale of 0-950.” Budweiser's spot was 665. State Farm's 90-second "Thanks" ad, directed by Spike Lee, was 662 on the Ace score, making it “the second-most-effective ad this quarter.” The “average Ace Score for insurance ads is 492” (, 9/14).
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