There is no brand as attached to the Super Bowl as Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser. Now part of AB Inbev, the brand not only is historically the biggest player in the Super Bowl, often featuring as much as five minutes of airtime, but it has also been a brand that consistently delivers quality advertisements year to year. And, it has done so through clever and funny spots for its Bud Light product, as well as equally entertaining but more emotionally engaging spots for its namesake.
What makes this year particularly interesting is that some new plays are being called by this perennial advertising behemoth. For the first time, Stella Artois will receive a 60-second spot in the Super Bowl. Stella Artois has a different consumer in mind than your Budweiser or Bud Light, and it will be interesting to see how their presence is received by the nation as a whole. And, can Stella Artois capture as unique of a place in the mind of consumers as its iconic predecessors have? Indeed, what makes this a fascinating one to watch is to see how the three products, Budweiser, Bud Light, and Stella Artois will be presented and portrayed, and whether this works as an overall branding strategy for AB Inbev. Certainly the brand’s overall strategy is something Tim and I will be discussing on Super Bowl Sunday.
The other interesting change in play for Budweiser is that instead of running nine ads for a total of five minutes (the brand’s play from last year), it will air only five ads for a total of three minutes and thirty seconds. The benefit of having more ads and more time last year is that the brand had more leeway for a less exciting spot. Basically, if you fumble on one of nine spots there is a greater likelihood of being forgiven than if you fumble on one of five spots. Thus, with fewer ads there is even more pressure to perform across all spots. On the upside, it may be a much easier goal for creative to reach; it isn’t easy to develop attention-grabbing messages that are also on strategy, especially where Super Bowl standards are concerned.
Of course, let me end by saying, despite the changes, fans of the bnd’s advertising can also expect some familiar formulas, as well. A good chunk of the brand’s time will be devoted to Bud Light, and the Clydesdales will be back.