Radio Could Get a Beer Hangover

Ad Age story about Anheuser-Busch marketing plans is a bummer.
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Ad Age story about Anheuser-Busch marketing plans is a bummer.

Will radio execs be hoisting a few Buds as they salute the coming holiday weekend?

Maybe not. At least, this week’s advertising news isn’t the kind of revenue outlook that U.S. commercial radio wants to hear, as Advertising Age reports it.

The magazine said Anheuser-Busch, a big backer of radio advertising, is “significantly slashing spending in the medium for the second half of this year as it embraces cost cuts to fend off a hostile takeover bid.”

“According to people familiar with the matter, A-B has begun to inform major station groups that it is cutting — and in some cases completely eliminating — its spot-radio buys for the remainder of this year in many markets.”

Subsequently, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the beer company is shifting some money budgeted for local radio during the summer, to TV ads and billboards in fall and winter. “The company says local radio is a valuable medium, despite audience erosion due to satellite radio. But Anheuser-Busch is trimming local radio spending to store up cash for national television later in the year,” the newspaper reported.

“Anheuser-Busch has trimmed its radio spending to $4.2 million in the first three months of the year, compared with $4.8 million in the same period in 2007 — an 11.5 percent drop — according to TNS Media Intelligence. Anheuser-Busch privately disputes the exact radio spending numbers from TNS but confirmed the trend.”

The paper said the changes are being made in support of marketing for Bud Light Lime and Budweiser American Ale.