Bud Light Begins New Ad Phase Focused on Labels With Random Messages

TV Spot Plugs New 'Up for Whatever' Bottles

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Bud Light is beginning its new bottle-focused marketing with a TV ad that touts the varying messages printed on labels as "12-ounces of inspiration."

As Ad Age reported earlier this month, the brand is rolling out new packaging that will eventually feature more than 100 different messages scrolled on bottles. The new labels, which are part of the brand's "Perfect Beer For Whatever Happens" campaign, seek to position the beer for spontaneous fun. One label, for instance, declares Bud Light as the "perfect beer for when you're eating breakfast meats outside of breakfast hours."

The new ad (above), which is by BBDO, begins a new phase of advertising for the brand that will heavily promote the new packaging. The ad will debut regionally on New Year's Day during college football bowl games and run nationally during the NFL playoffs. Bud Light's Super Bowl advertising is also expected to plug the labels.

The larger strategy for the "Up for Whatever" campaign -- which debuted during the 2014 Super Bowl -- is to connect the brand with good times, while putting a heavy emphasis on experiential and digital marketing. The bottle effort will include custom beer bottles sold at sporting events and concerts that offer drinkers the chance to get random, on-the-spot perks, like going backstage.

Beyond the label strategy, the new ad is notable for its product close-ups and description of the liquid as "crisp," "smooth" and "refreshing." Most of the previous spots in the "Whatever" campaign have focused very little on the product, instead featuring chance run-ins with celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or NFL personalities like Jimmy Johnson.

While big light beer brands have historically made image plays in ads, some industry leaders view product-focused marketing as one way to combat the rising popularity of smaller craft beer brands. Consider Miller Lite, which recently launched a series of ads featuring extreme close-ups of the beer. In describing the ads, MillerCoors said it wants to "take a stand against the misconception that the only good beers are heavy beers."

An A-B InBev U.S. spokesman said the brewer will focus more on quality messaging in the coming year across its portfolio. But he said that approach will be taken mostly through on-site activations. As for Bud Light, he said the brand wanted to highlight the brewing process in the initial "Whatever" label ad, but that future ads in the campaign would stick mostly to "spontaneous fun."

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