In an effort to reclaim their former glory as the leading beer brand in the nation, Anheuser-Busch InBev has launched an extensive advertising initiative for Bud Light during the Super Bowl festivities of this year. Plagued by a consumer revolt, Bud Light’s standing plummeted, causing a significant reshuffling in beer rankings. Their strategy appears to hinge on two Bud Light commercials, one being a minute-long, the other of half the duration, and a third advertisement pushing Michelob Ultra, in a bid to turnaround declining sales.
As stated by Kyle Norrington, Anheuser-Busch’s Chief Commercial Officer, the company aims to carefully select their star brands for wide-reaching moments like the Super Bowl. The hope is to capitalize on the immense visibility not only on television but also across various platforms that such a grand event, along with the NFL playoffs, provide. He emphasized that Bud Light and Michelob Ultra were the brands deemed to have the most significant opportunity this year.
While the exact amount the company is investing into this advertising blitz remains undisclosed, it’s reasonable to assume a sizable figure given the market rate for a 30-second slot hovering near seven million dollars. Therefore, it could cost upwards of $25 million to broadcast these three commercials. This year, Bud Light has strategically aligned itself with NFL followers, once a significant customer demographic, on the back foot to improve flagging sales figures.
Consulting firm Bump Williams reports a sharp 28.9 percent drop in Bud Light sales compared to the previous year. This contrasts with the steady rise of Modelo Especial that experienced a 15.1 percent surge in the early weeks of 2024, leapfrogging Bud Light to snatch the top spot. Interestingly, outside of the United States, Modelo Especial is under the InBev brand umbrella, yet due to regulatory stipulations, it is distributed by Constellation Brands within the U.S.
Bud Light’s downward spiral seemingly began in early 2023 when a widespread consumer backlash ensued. The brand’s marketing head, Alissa Heinerscheid, cast a negative light on her core customers by labeling them as ‘out of touch’. The situation went from bad to worse following an unsuccessful and ill-timed marketing campaign featuring controversial figure Dylan Mulvaney, culminating in Bud Light losing its number one spot as America’s preferred beer.
This year, the Bud Light team aims to reconnect with its consumers through their minute-long Super Bowl ad, which promises to wield humor as a primary tool. The announcement has stirred much anticipation about a fresh, endearing character’s debut, set within their existing ‘Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy’ marketing narrative.
Arguably the more nostalgic of the two ads, the 30-second clip is set to spotlight the role of the beer’s distributors in bringing Bud Light to its consumers. A surprise appearance by the iconic Clydesdale horses, a beloved Budweiser symbol, is expected to imbue the commercial with a sense of legacy and tradition.
The flurry of ad campaigns during the Super Bowl aims to resurrect the previously thriving sales of Bud Light. However, only time will reveal whether these commercials will successfully reignite the brand’s popularity and restore its status, or merely serve as an ambitious yet ultimately ineffective strategy to stop the sales decline.