Anheuser-Busch InBev's Super Bowl XLVIII game plan is a mixed bag of old and new as the alcohol giant turns its focus to its core brands—Bud Light and Best Global Brand Budweiser—as competition from Coors Light, craft beers and imported brews heats up.
In total, AB InBev will air five ads, three for Bud Light and two for Budweiser.
A veteran Super Bowl advertiser, Budweiser will once again utilize its iconic Clydesdales in a new spot, "Puppy Love," as well as one that honor's returning military troops that is "particularly special because of the sheer number of troops coming home from Afghanistan," Budweiser VP Brian Perkins told USA Today.
Bud Light, on the other hand, will showcase an innovative re-sealable aluminum bottle, "Cool Twist," in spot called “So Cool” that is scheduled to air in the game's first timeslot along with two others that include celebrity tie-ins.
One thing that isn't resting on nostalgia is Bud Light's four-year-old tagline, "Here We Go."
The motto will be replaced by "The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens." The new tagline represents a "totally new positioning for the brand," one that will be "a little more reflective of millennial values" such as optimism and an openness to "get out there and experience the world," Bud Light VP Rob McCarthy told Ad Age.
2014 Super Bowl advertisers are reportedly paying close to $4 million for each 30-second spot, but that didn't stop major brands including Hyundai, Kia, Jaguar, Chobani, Doritos and H&M from snapping up Big Game ad slots by early December. In total, AB InBev is buying three and a half minutes of air time for about $28 million—one minute less than last year.
The Super Bowl marks a critical transition for AB InBev, a holder of exclusive beer-ad rights at the Super Bowl, as declining market share from spirits and popular craft brews challenge the mega-brewer’s dominance, and executives aim to shore up critical markets such as China. The company is also losing its VP of US marketing, Paul Chibe—a role that will be filled by the company's top Canada executive.
“Social media and digital will be a huge part of our plan,” said Chibe, according to St. Louis Today. “We’re driving integration of our TV ads with digital more, and I think that is the future. They have to be completely connected to get the consumers you’re looking for.”
One of those digital pursuits includes Cruise To The Bowl Challenge, a Facebook game supporting Bud's announcement that it is converting a Norwegian cruise ship into a Bud Light Hotel for the "ultimate booze cruise" to the Super Bowl.
The game requires fans to play for over 24 hours straight. “The game is easy to play, but if you want to win, you’ll need some endurance,” Lucas Herscovici, VP digital for Anheuser-Busch, told MediaPost. “It’s not for the faint of heart, but we expect quite a few truly diehard fans will give it a shot.”