Bud Light brings back ‘Real Men of Genius’ with new twist for digital age
Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” campaign--which set a new standard for funny radio ads--is being resurrected for the social media age.
The brew is rebranding the campaign “Internet Heroes of Genius” and running them exclusively on digital, including on streaming audio services Spotify and Pandora. Bud Light stuck to the same formula as the original award-winning campaign, which last ran in 2007 and paid homage to oddball jobs, like “Mr. Edible Underwear Inventor,” with laugh-out-loud copy lines.
The new version has fun with gigs spawned by the rise of the digital media. For instance, one spot (above) pays sarcastic tribute to corporate social media managers. “Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Hemmingway–of history’s greatest writers, only you have mastered the brand voice of a Twitter account for almond milk,” states the voiceover, prompting the kicker, done in song: “Sassy, but not too mean.” Another spot highlights Snapchat lens creators.
Listen to the other spots at bottom, including “Person Still Using Their Middle School Email,” “Person Who Accidentally Went Viral,” “Video Streaming Login Sharer,” “Online Encyclopedia Editor” and “Person Who Sorts By New.”
The original campaign was created by DDB Chicago in 1998. It was first called “American Heroes.” The brew renamed the campaign “Real Men of Genius” in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, because labeling the sarcastic ads “American Heroes” would have been considered tone-deaf. The campaign moved to TV in 2003. By 2006, “Real Men of Genius” had racked up more than 100 advertising awards, including the radio Grand Prix in Cannes in 2005 and 2006, when spots such as “Mr. Nosebleed Section Fan" and "Mr. Jean Shorts Wearer" (below) were on the air.
The new version of the campaign is by Red, a division of Endeavor Global Marketing, in collaboration with the brewer’s new in-house agency, called Draftline. The voiceover and singer’s voice sounds nearly identical to the original ads, but the brewer confirmed that it is using new talent for those roles. (Brandon Beilis does the singing and Dave Steele is the VO.)
AB InBev representatives stressed that the effort is a supplemental campaign that does not replace Bud Light’s ongoing “Dilly Dilly” campaign by Wieden & Kennedy. “The core of Bud Light is always fun and connecting with young people and we think this is a great way to do it,” Conor Mason, director of digital marketing for AB InBev, says about “Internet Heroes of Genius.”
The brewer will give it highly targeted paid support across various social platforms. Says Mason: “You can see how ‘Snapchat Lens Creator’ fits itself perfectly for Snapchat. ‘Person Who Sorts By New’ is very specific to Reddit. ‘Video Streaming Login Sharer’ will be running on Hulu and some other video streaming platforms.”
Also, on Twitter today, Bud Light will respond directly to users who tweet about why they should be an internet hero. “We are actually going to create content that is personalized to them with the singer singing back to them,” Mason says.
Here are some more of the ads: