Where Credit's Due: Budweiser Goes The Cool And Funny Route On Microbrewery's 'Dilly Dilly' Craft IPA

from the dilly-dilly dept

I like to give credit where credit is due. When it comes to the myriad posts we’ve written about Budweiser or its parent company Anheuser-Busch, the credit has mostly been to do with being intellectual property bullies and all around megalith caricatures. That said, the company’s actions surrounding a recent case of actual trademark infringement show the company not to be without humor or grace when it actually tries.

Minneapolis brewery, Modist Brewery, recently unveiled a new double IPA it decided to call “Dilly Dilly.” If that isn’t ringing any bells, you must not have seen the series of kingly ads for Bud Light that I find funny, although I can’t describe exactly why.

As part of the ad campaign, Budweiser trademarked the phrase “dilly, dilly”, because of course they did. Whatever problems we might have with the practical application of trademark law in modern times, the phrase is creative, unique, and with the ad campaign it has become an identifier for the Bud Light brand. Modist Brewery even knew about the trademark. And it expected Bud Light to push back.

According to The Growler Magazine, the owners had an idea they would be getting a message from Bud Light after they found out “Dilly Dilly” had already been trademarked as a slogan.

“But then we said, ‘Screw it, let’s see what happens.’ And that’s what happens,” Kale Anderson told the magazine.

Yes, Budweiser did indeed respond…by sending an on-theme messenger to Modist Brewery.

In case you can’t see the video, the “messenger” from Budwesider states the following.

“Hear ye, hear ye!” he began. “Dear friend of the crown, Modist Brewery Company, congratulations on the new brew: Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA …” the man read. “We are duly flattered by your royal tribute. However, ‘Dilly Dilly’ is the motto of our realm. So we humbly ask that you keep this to a limited edition one-time-only run. This is by order of the king. Disobedience shall be met with additional scrolls, then a formal warning, and finally, a private tour of the pit of misery.”

To make sure the disposition of the message was clear, the messenger goes on to gift two Super Bowl tickets to the brewery, as the game will be in Minnesota this year. Rather than being the bully, Budweiser added some humor to its request that the brewery, which knew about the trademark, simply not continue the run of the IPA under the infringing name past the limited run, and it managed to do so in an entertaining and congenial way. As far as cease and desists go, this is about as good as it gets.

And Budweiser is earning high praise in the press for all this, extending its branding message and bathing the Bud Light product in positive coverage. That’s a pretty good look and a welcome departure for a company not known for being so human and accommodating.

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Companies: inbev, modist brewery

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Comments on “Where Credit's Due: Budweiser Goes The Cool And Funny Route On Microbrewery's 'Dilly Dilly' Craft IPA”

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30 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I'm "curious george" why after one use changed name to "mrtraver"...

Name change after first happens a lot, VERY curious pattern, please explain…


It’s FUNNY "Timothy Geigner" aka "Dark Helmet", that are TWO odd accounts commenting on this dull topic. You just bring out these ODD accounts, doncha?

Chuck says:

This could be an awesome trend

Instead of an “arbitration clause” why don’t we start using “royal squire clauses” whereby you must attempt at least 2 full rounds of squire-conveyed messaging prior to the filing of any lawsuit?

I mean, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of out-of-work actors who are much, much cheaper than arbitrators/attorneys. This could save people real money, and I’ve gotta believe the success rate would be much, much higher than that of arbitration, right?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Well played

They clearly send a message that while they are willing to look the other way for one ‘tribute run’ they will be less happy if it continues, doing so ‘in character’ and without going straight to the nuclear option.

As far as dealing with someone who apparently knew that they were treading on thin ice this is pretty ideal. They didn’t go legal, they come across as having a sense of humor over the matter, yet they still accomplish their goal and draw more attention to their product/ad at the same time.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Well, not quite...

Whatever problems we might have with the practical application of trademark law in modern times, the phrase is creative, unique, and with the ad campaign it has become an identifier for the Bud Light brand.

Hmmm "identifier for the Bud Light brand" I can’t comment on since I’ve never seen that ad ever (which, I guess would make "identifier for the Bud Light brand in the US" more accurate), but I’d dispute "unique" given the phrase appears in a C17 nursery rhyme. "Creative" looks a bit shaky too given its appearance in, for example, the 1985 Marillion song… I guess that just leaves the first bit, then.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: prior art -- Zombie Alert! "Anton Sherwood" or "Tamfang" was dead 4 years!

You know, out_of_the_blue, if you’re this concerned about being the largest presence on Techdirt (a site which you hate the guts of and can’t stand the fact that it exists, I would add) you could always just start an account as a legacy to your narcissistic glory.

Your garbage would still get flagged but at least it does newcomers a service by conveniently categorizing the exhibits of your stupidity.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

You mean its not ice cream!? It says Dilly I was in a hurry, I thought it was a Dilly Bar.

Earn public respect with this one simple trick!
Lawyers Hate it!

You can protect your trademark & not be a flaming ass about it. You can allow them a “limited” run using the name & to take the sting out have some sportsball tickets. The public will talk about this and Dilly Dilly they might not find the microbrew but Bud Light will have some brain share.

This was a hell of a lot cheaper than 5 seconds of halftime advertising & clicked in many different “social” groupings outside of sportsball fans.

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