×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Anheuser-Busch Says Super Bowl Beer Ads Will Get Back to Basics

Anheuser-Busch will get rid of the slapstick antics and celebrity endorsements that have long been the hallmarks of its Super Bowl commercials in favor of a back-to-basics approach for some of its best known beer brands.

“Do not expect celebrities. Do not expect epic things,” said Marcel Marcondes, vice president of marketing at Anheuser-Busch, in remarks delivered at a media briefing Tuesday. The company is expected to use at least three minutes of commercial time during Fox’s February 5th broadcast of Super Bowl LI. Instead, Marcondes, said, consumers want “no bullshit” and “brands that stand for something strong.”

The brewer has been one of the Super Bowl’s most durable sponsors, having spent more than $520 million on the event over the past 35 years, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending. And the company serves as a sort of bellwether for the game: the tone it establishes tends to be the one that others follow. Fox has been seeking more than $5 million for a 30-second spot, but Anheuser’s years-long sponsorship deal behind the Super Bowl means it tends to pay a lower rate.

Super Bowl spots for Budwieser and Bud Light tend to get people talking. Last year, Anheuser tapped comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen for Bud Light commercials tied to the coming presidential election, and dispatched Helen Mirren to give a minute-long talk on the dangers of drunk driving. In years past, Anheuser used frat-boy humor to make its point, like spots in 2004 that made use of a crotch-biting dog and a flatulent horse. The company’s stately Clydesdales have been utilized to pay tribute to America and its heroes.

Now, the company wants to get customers to think. Anheuser says it will deliver a clear message about four of its longstanding brands – Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Busch – as consumers have hundreds of different beers and alcoholic beverages from which to choose. “We have seen signs of consumers being overwhelmed,” Marcondes said “We are talking about thousands and thousands of beer brands.”

It’s no secret competition from craft beers, as well as consumers’ broadening interest in wine and spirits, have posed new challenges for Anheuser. In 2015, the company ran a Super Bowl ad lampooning consumers’ yen for “pumpkin peach ale.” Last year, Anheuser allocated some of its Super Bowl inventory to Shock Top, a Belgian White that had some of the marketing bravado of an entrepreneurial upstart.

The company will unveil a new tag line for its famous Bud Light that will emphasize the fun moments the beverage can foster among friends.  The Super Bowl commercials, crafted by agency Wieden + Kennedy, will tout Bud Light as being “Famous Among Friends,” and portray it as something that helps spark great social moments.  Meanwhile, ads for Budweiser, devised by Anomaly, will tout its history, and evoke the tale of co-founder Adolphus Busch, who worked hard to attain his version of the American Dream. Viewers are likely to see at least an appearance by the company’s famous Clydesdales, though they will not be the star of the spots.

The brewer will shine a spotlight on Michelob Ultra for the second year in a row, and tout the brew as something for people with an active lifestyle. The campaign, created by FCB Chicago, will continue to use the slogan “Brewed For Those Who Go The Extra Mile.”

Busch, a “value” beer, will make its first ad appearance in the Super Bowl, even though it has been part of the Anheuser product line for decades. The new campaign, made by Deutsch, is expected to lend a boost to a product that Marcondes said the company has “seen a lift in brand performance” in recent months, and wants to see if a Super Bowl appearance can lend some oomph to sales.

The company expects to adhere to its new philosophy for several months to come, said Marcondes, trying to identify a specific use or fit for each product. But the new efforts won’t keep a recent marketing initiative from returning. Anheuser intends this year to once again issue bottle of Budweiser with labels that simply read “America,” an effort that ties the beer to its roots, the executive suggested.

More TV

  • Gillian AndersonX-Files press conference, Century City,

    Gillian Anderson to Play Margaret Thatcher in Season 4 of 'The Crown' (Report)

    “The Crown” has found its Iron Lady. Gillian Anderson is said to have signed on to play British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of the much-praised Netflix drama series. Anderson’s casting was first reported by the Sunday Times. A Netflix rep declined to comment on the report. Anderson is the latest notable [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • AGS2 Key Art, Image IDs: AGS2_081218_2727,

    Starz Releases 'American Gods' Season 2 Trailer (Watch)

    Starz has released a second season trailer for “American Gods,” which returns to the cabler Mar. 10, depicting the brewing war between Gods old and new in the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. “When people first came to America they brought us with them,” the trailer begins, flashing images of [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content