Outnumbered Bud Tests Best for A-B

Brewer Likely to Back Brand With Only One of Its Super Bowl Spots

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- While six of the game-high seven spots in Anheuser-Busch's 2008 Super Bowl lineup are dedicated to Bud Light, the Budweiser brand's lone 60-second spot may score the biggest points with viewers if A-B's extensive pre-game testing is any indication, said Bob Lachky, the brewer's exec VP-global industry development.
In the Budweiser brand's lone Super Bowl spot, a Clydesdale cut from the iconic team tries to work his way back under the watchful eye of a Dalmatian.
In the Budweiser brand's lone Super Bowl spot, a Clydesdale cut from the iconic team tries to work his way back under the watchful eye of a Dalmatian.

A-B this year cut back to seven spots from last year's 10, a switch Mr. Lachky attributed to a "routine" negotiation with the National Football League and within the terms of its long-term agreement to be the exclusive beer sponsor of the Super Bowl.

The Bud spot chronicles a Clydesdale's attempt to rebound after being cut from A-B's iconic Clydesdale hitch. The horse trains, Rocky Balboa-style, complete with the boxing movie icon's theme music, under the watchful eye of a Dalmatian.

"There's a lot of cynicism in the air, maybe because it's an election year," Mr. Lachky said. "There's something about the tradition and message of the Clydesdales that just seems to resonate."

DDB's share
Mr. Lachky said it was likely that six of the seven spots would come from Bud Light's primary agency, Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago, which has seen its share of the big game nibbled down in recent years by other A-B roster shops such as Latinworks, Austin, Texas; Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; Hill Holliday, Boston; and Cannonball, St. Louis. This year, Mr. Lachky said, only Latinworks is likely to get a spot in the game.

DDB's work on Bud Light falls into two genres. The first involves the brand's now-familiar formula of people going to odd lengths to enjoy Bud Light. In one spot, men covertly smuggle Bud Light into a wine-and-cheese party; in another cavemen invent the wheel to bring Bud Light to a party.
Cavemen in one of DDB's spots invent the wheel so they can bring Bud Light to a party.
Cavemen in one of DDB's spots invent the wheel so they can bring Bud Light to a party.

A second group of Bud Light ads touts failed additional benefits of drinking Bud Light, featuring in one spot the disastrous consequences of Bud Light enabling drinkers to breathe fire.

The lone spot from Latinworks returns comedian Carlos Mencia to the Super Bowl. As he did last year in a spot from the same agency, Mr. Mencia is tutoring a diverse group of immigrants, this time about the appeal of foreign accents to women.

So much for smaller brands
As reported earlier, no A-B brand other than Bud Light and Budweiser will receive Super Bowl support this year, a break with A-B's recent practice of giving smaller brands such as Michelob Ultra and Budweiser Select exposure in the big game.

In the past, Mr. Lachky said, those brands often were included to send a message to wholesalers to emphasize them. But in 2007, A-B executives admitted that the struggle to incorporate dozens of new craft, import and specialty brews into the portfolio took focus away from the brewer's biggest brands.

"We really believe, this Super Bowl more than ever, we have to make it clear to our system and others how important Bud and Bud Light are," Mr. Lachky said.
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