The Lowdown: Bud Light Apple Coming, Shock Top in Super Bowl

The Beer Wars Take a Detour Through Apple Orchard

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The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.

Credit: Shock Top

Anheuser-Busch InBev will dedicate one of its Super Bowl ads to Shock Top for the first time ever. "As California is the brand's spiritual home, it's fitting that the 50th edition will take place in San Francisco," Jake Kirsch, VP for Shock Top, said in a statement to Ad Age. The move marks a departure from the past two Super Bowls, in which the brewer used in-game ads to spotlight its two biggest brands: Budweiser and Bud Light. Bud and Bud Light are expected to still get air time in Super Bowl 50. But the Shock Top spot is another signal that the wheat beer is stepping up its fight against MillerCoors-owned Blue Moon. Beer Business Daily first reported Shock Top's Super Bowl plans.

A-B InBev also appears to be taking aim at MillerCoors-owned Redd's Apple Ale with a couple new apple brews. A new line extension called Bud Light Apple will soon debut in the U.S., along with a new brand called Best Damn Apple Ale. Details are sparse but the brewer has filed for label approval for both brands. An A-B InBev spokeswoman confirmed that "both brands would be tested on a limited basis this fall." Bud Light Apple is already sold in Canada. Beer Business Daily first reported about the potential launch in a report earlier this month. A-B InBev already has a cart full of apple products, including Stella Artois Cidre, Bud Light Lime Apple-ahh-Rita, Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat and Johnny Appleseed Hard Cider.

Bud Light Apple is coming.
Bud Light Apple is coming.

Here's the kicker: A-B InBev could end up owning Redd's if the proposed A-B InBev-SABMiller merger goes through. Regulators won't permit A-B InBev from owning most of SABMiller's U.S. brands, which are jointly owned with Molson Coors in the MillerCoors joint venture. Under one likely scenario, Molson Coors would buy SABMiller's stake in MillerCoors. In a recent report, Evercore ISI stated that the MillerCoors joint venture "owns the U.S. rights to all the brands initially contributed to the JV in 2008, including the Coors and Miller Brands." But Evercore ISI believes those rights would not cover imports like Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, and Grolsch, as well as Redd's. And the report suggested there's a chance those brands could go to A-B InBev. But that, of course, is only speculation at this point.

Here is what is not up for debate: Female self-esteem marketing is hot. Procter & Gamble Co. is the latest to jump on the bandwagon with both feet and a large bucket of money. P&G's Always, Pantene, Venus and Secret brands have joined forces on a global self-esteem effort that aims to reach 100 million girls, announced Sept. 29 at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. The Always #LikeAGirl effort launched last year has been the company's most prominent campaign in the area of late, but Pantene videos aimed at building women's self-confidence and Secret's even older "Mean Stinks" program to fight girl-on-girl bullying have been thematically aligned.

As part of the effort: P&G is launching the Always Global Confidence Teaching Curriculum for girls worldwide; Venus is expanding its "Use Your And" campaign aimed at inspiring girls to stand up against one-dimensional labels; Pantene's 2015 Beautiful Lengths 8or8 campaign will urge girls to donate 8 inches of their hair or $8 for girls and women recovering from cancer; Secret will expand "Mean Stinks" in partnership with Teen Vogue to join a #ChainofNice.

Unilever's Dove has had its own self-esteem program for girls for 11 years, and Tuesday launched the latest video behind that effort along with 80 resources on Pinterest developed by educators on the global advisory board Dove Self-Esteem Project. Dove has reached 17 million young people globally with self-esteem education to date, a spokeswoman said.

Here's one woman who probably doesn't feel so good: Nexcare Nana. Though the 3M brand assures us that no Nanas were harmed in the making of this film, the 87-year-old woman is taking a convertible through a carwash with the top down in this video to prove her Nexcare bandage will stay stuck.

Grey created the ad, but you can credit, or blame, Robbie S. of Indiana for the idea. He was the grand-prize winner from among more than 13,000 entrants in the "What Will Nana Do Next?" contest. Given that the contest was promoted with a video showing Nana standing next to a shark tank, things could have been worse. Is it too late to enroll Nana in a self-esteem program?

Or maybe Nana just needs a cup of coffee? There was no shortage of coffee propaganda on National Coffee Day on Tuesday. Wrigley's Orbit gum sent a comedian on coffee dates at a little shop in Chicago, some funny, some awkward. (The video is by Olson Engage.)

And Peanuts sent a Tweet to show off its caffeinated spirit.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola made its own coffee day connection, posting a Coke and Granita recipe.

While there's seemingly a "National Day" for just about everything, there's a new one coming up, and that's National Salmon Day. Chicken of the Sea teamed up with San Diego (where it is based) and Chicago and Cook County, Ill., (citing a strong legacy of salmon fishing on Lake Michigan) for National Salmon Day, which will take place on Oct. 8. And, of course, there's a social media aspect to it, including a sweepstakes for people to #PinkUpYourLunch to win prizes and get a coupon for a free pouch of Chicken of the Sea Flavored Salmon.

And in case you want to celebrate today, you have your choice of reasons, according to the online National Day Calendar. It's National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, National Hot Mulled Cider Day and National Women's Health & Fitness Day.

Taco Bell Dress
Taco Bell Dress Credit: Taco Bell

National Fast Food Day is on Nov. 16, but fast food apps are increasingly open year round. Some of them allow people to order digitally on the go, including one from Starbucks (as mentioned in last week's Lowdown). Even McDonald's is (some might say finally) rolling out an app nationally that includes special offers including free sandwiches. Meanwhile, Taco Bell updated its web site -- which now carries the catchy URL "" (as well as the more traditional -- to allow for customization and online ordering. It's calling the site, which launched this week, Taco Bell 2.0. The site (and app) also has details for fans who sign up, from special offers to shareable content, such as photos of the woman who made a dress using Taco Bell wrappers.

Back to the bar: MillerCoors-owned Keystone Light is using a taxidermist in its latest digital campaign. The brand and PR agency Olson Engage signed up Chuck Testa, owner of Ojai Valley Taxidermy, to star in the digital video below that furthers the brand's push into hunting-themed marketing. Mr. Testa gained a bit of fame in 2011 when a commercial for his taxidermy business went viral. The ad was actually created by a show on the IFC cable network called "Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings." CNBC covered that backstory here.

Finally, Volvo Cars has named Björn Annwall as its new senior VP-marketing, sales and service. He replaces Alain Visser, who accepted a new position as VP for global marketing and sales for Geely Auto Group, a Chinese car company. Volvo and Geely are owned by Zhejiang Geely Holdings. Mr. Annwall was previously a McKinsey & Co, "where he has worked closely with Volvo for the last five years implementing a global transformation program following its acquisition by ZGH in 2010," according to Volvo.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl

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