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.