Late last year, Bud Light teamed up with The Office star John Krasinski for a series of branded videos based around the theme of “hold my beer.” What Bud Light didn’t know is that Montana brewery Big Sky has used that phrase in marketing campaigns dating back to 2004. A legal battle followed, and Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch ultimately agreed to remove the videos from its YouTube channel.
The videos in question were directed by Krasinski and featured average, ordinary guys attempting extraordinary feats thanks to the confidence gained through drinking Bud Light beer. The campaign was inspired by an Internet meme and served as Bud Light’s attempt to connect with a younger, tech-savvy demographic.
A quick Google Image search reveals that Big Sky, based out of Missoula, has indeed used the same slogan on coasters, cozies, growlers, and all sorts of other beer-related paraphernalia. Anheuser-Busch chose to remove the offending videos rather than take the issue to court.
“We may revisit the concept,” said Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman Lisa Weser. “We stand by our original statement that there was no trademark use of the phrase ‘Hold my beer and watch this,’ nor was there any intent to create any association with Big Sky.”
Of course, with a slew of Bud Light commercials set to debut during the Super Bowl, I’m guessing Anheuser-Busch isn’t too upset about having to shelve an older ad campaign. Big Sky, on the other hand, gets to keep its slogan while continuing to brew delicious Moose Drool beer. Everybody wins.