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.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 5 Dec 2017 @ 8:31pm

    I haven't bougt Bud Light in quite a while, but I am going to go buy some as soon as I am sober enough todrive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 8:32am

      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?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 8:39am

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

        Aren't there some clouds you can go outside and yell at?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 10:12pm

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

        Nobody cares about this sort of shit but you. Die angry about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2017 @ 8:33pm

    That said, you shouldn't be able to trademark as a slogan an old phrase.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chuck, 5 Dec 2017 @ 9:00pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2017 @ 9:19pm

    But what about the confusion with Billy Dilly's Super Subterranean Summer? Think of the poor morons in a hurry!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Dec 2017 @ 9:31pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Monday (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 10:54am

      Re: Well played

      That was the point...

      Bud has a billion dollar arsenal and this isn't just a shot in the arm of Modist, as they aren't going to be driven into extinction; sales will likely increase; Bud looks good, Modist is grateful, and prolly more thankful than the owners relay in their comments.

      It made me smile. I had to comment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 5 Dec 2017 @ 10:00pm

    Personally I dislike the taste of beer.

    I'd like to try that spiced honey-mead wine. I could really get into that (unless it results in the Pit of Misery).

    Well played Budweiser. Well played. Dilly Dilly!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      An𐌏nym𐌏us C𐌏ward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 6:13am

      Re:

      Apparently someone took some German beer, watered it down and dropped a cigarette butt in it, hence ButtWasser, which is now known as...........

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2017 @ 11:21pm

    As legal threats go, this one was funny, creative and on-point.

    Small Kudos to the Bud legal team for this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 2:13am

      Re:

      Doesn't sound like a threat to me (even though it is sort of in that scrolls and pit of misery part). It's rather a friendly reminder that the trademark is taken and in use. Sounds like exactly what trademark should be doing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 12:54am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 10:14pm

      Re: Well, not quite...

      It is both “unique” and “creative” within the world of alcohol (and the marketing thereof). Bud got the trademark first. Everyone else has to live with that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anton Sherwood (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 2:23am

    prior art

    “Lavender blue, dilly dilly, lavender green / If I were king, dilly dilly, I'd need a queen …”

    (song from some old Disney movie, i think)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ben, 6 Dec 2017 @ 4:48am

      Re: prior art

      And Disney have long been beneficiaries (they would claim 'transformative', no doubt) of prior art. A quick google points out that Lavender's Blue long pre-dates even Disney, being a song from the mid 1600s.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 8:31am

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

      A one-pager, and short at that: 8 comments since 2011. Up again after year gap.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anton Sherwood (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 11:09am

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

        I'm an epiphenomenon of relatively few words.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 5:24pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 2:24am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2017 @ 6:43am

    Do you really think this just happened and wasn't in fact a well planned marketing campaign from both sides?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SirWired, 6 Dec 2017 @ 6:49am

    Reminds me of that Velcro video

    This reminds me of "Don't Say Velco", a completely horrible/hilarious power ballad to help impress upon the general public the importance of trademark enforcement to the Velcro company.

    https://youtu.be/rRi8LptvFZY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    F.J. Bergmann (profile), 6 Dec 2017 @ 8:08am

    dilly dilly beer trademark

    So dill-flavored beer is a thing now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.