Bud Light is hooking up with Lady Gaga in a new TV ad debuting tonight during "Sunday Night Football," as the nation's largest beer continues its celebrity-driven marketing approach.
The spot is part of a larger deal that also includes a "Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour," further TV commercials featuring portions of tracks off Lady Gaga's new album "Joanne," and a performance of the single "Million Reasons" available on Bud Light social channels on Wednesday and Thursday. The dive bar tour starts Wednesday with the performance of "Million Reasons" and "Perfect Illusion" for an "intimate" crowd, according to Bud Light.
Gaga's pact with Bud Light follows last week's news that she will headline the Super Bowl halftime show sponsored by Pepsi. As part of that deal, which will spotlight the soda maker's Pepsi Zero Sugar variety, Gaga will star in behind-the-scenes videos posted at Pepsi.com.
The new Bud Light ad comes as the brew continues its election-themed "Bud Light Party" campaign starring Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer.
The celebrity strategy contrasts with the approach taken by rival Miller Lite, whose recent product-focused ads have played up the brand's heritage and liquid credentials. The MillerCoors brand's latest effort takes Bud Light on by name by mocking its rival's tagline. "Bud Light says raise one to right now, so why not raise the right one," state new TV ads, before adding, "Miller Lite has more taste and half the carbs."
At a private distributor meeting last week, MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll accused Bud Light of MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer David Kroll hiding behind celebrities, according to a transcript of his speech shared with Ad Age.
Asked to respond to Miller Lite's ads, a Bud Light spokeswoman said the campaign is about more than celebrity. "There's no hiding the fact that Bud Light is the number one beer in the country," she said in an email. "Bud Light's current campaign, 'Raise One to Right Now,' is also about tapping into the timely, cultural moments that matter to modern drinkers. That's why we're excited to kick off a unique, new partnership with global superstar, Lady Gaga, who just released a new single and will perform at the Super Bowl LI halftime show. There's no other partnership that's more 'right now' for our fans."
Bud Light, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, dwarfs Miller Lite in size, at nearly 18% beer category share compared with about 6% for Lite, according to the latest data from IRI, which does not include bar sales.
Both brands have struggled to grow volume amid competition from craft beer and spirits. Bud Light saw sales volume drop 4.5% in the four weeks through Sept. 10 and is down 2.8% year-to-date, according to Nielsen data cited by Beer Marketer's Insights. Miller Lite, which ranks fourth, declined 2.8% in the period and is down 0.8% for the year.