The Super Bowl's biggest advertiser has joined the crowd of marketers releasing ads early.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, which will run six ads in this year's game, has decided to introduce two spots this week, beginning with the ad above for Beck's Sapphire. It plans to follow up by releasing a Budweiser ad featuring the Clydesdale horses sometime before the game.
The early debuts are a departure for the long-running Super Bowl advertiser, which has typically held its ads until they run on TV and released only a teaser or two. It made an exception in 2010, when it posted commercials on its Facebook page and asked fans to vote on whether they wanted a Clydesdales spot.
A-B InBev's U.S. VP-Marketing Paul Chibe characterized this year's early releases as a test. "I think one of the things I want to understand... is what benefit do we have in getting the awareness early," he said in an interview this week. But he added that the brewer is also mindful of its role as a leading advertiser and the value of keeping the Super Bowl special.
"I do have a concern about having all the ads released early and then the telecast lose its uniqueness and distinctiveness," he said. "So I'm looking at it. We'll see how releasing two units early... affects our measurements."
The brewer is supporting the YouTube release with a mobile app integration on Friday, to be followed by an ad buy on Saturday taking over the YouTube home page and including masthead widget with which consumers can interact. "Beck's is excited to reach millions with a Super Bowl spot, but equally excited to reach millions more with a prominent a YouTube presence," said Lucas Herscovici, the brewer's VP for digital, in a statement.
The brewer is also using the game to promote the new Twitter handle for Budweiser. It has been using the account to ask fans to pick the name of a baby Clydesdale that was born on Jan. 16 and will appear in the Super Bowl ad.
As of last check, the leading contender is "Musial," a reference to St. Louis Cardinal baseball great Stan Musial, who died earlier this month.
A-B InBev has the first commercial of the game on Sunday, 30 seconds it will use to promote Budweiser Black Crown, to be followed later in the first quarter by another 30 seconds for the same brand.
The second quarter will include a minute-long ad called "Journey" that promotes Bud Light and, most likely, "Brotherhood," the 60-second Budweiser spot starring the Clydesdales.
The third quarter will bring a 60-second ad for Bud Light called "Lucky Chair" and "Serenade" for Beck's Sapphire.
See our full chart of who's buying what at the Super Bowl here.