Anheuser-Busch InBev is giving its Super Bowl ad lineup some blue-collar appeal by dedicating one of its ads to its below-premium Busch brand. Busch -- which was introduced in 1955 as Busch Bavarian Beer -- has never before run a Super Bowl ad, according to Ad Age records.
The ad buy was first reported today by Beer Marketer's Insights and confirmed to Ad Age today by the brewer. "We are excited that Busch will make its Super Bowl debut in 2017. This is an unprecedented move, and signals our investment and belief in the role value brands play to drive growth within our portfolio and the category at large," Chelsea Phillips, senior director-value brands in the U.S. at AB InBev, said in a statement.
The ad will be handled by Deutsch New York, which won the account earlier this year.
Putting an economy brand in the game is an unusual move for the brewer, which typically features mainstream brands like Budweiser and Bud Light, or premium offerings such as Shock Top, which got a slot in Super Bowl 50 this year. AB InBev only spent $3 million in measured media last year on Busch and Busch Light, according to Kantar Media.
But Busch's appearance in the Feb. 5 game on Fox highlights an emerging marketing battle among lower-priced brews as brewers seek to boost overall beer volume by spending more behind economy brands. MillerCoors, for instance, is hiking spending on Miller High Life by 135% this month compared with last December, Ryan Marek, director of economy brands at Miller High Life, recently told Ad Age. High Life in November brought back its "If You've Got The Time, We've Got The Beer" jingle, which had not been used since the late 1970s.
AB InBev began giving more attention to Busch last year when it ran 10 weeks of national TV for the brand for the first time since 2008. "The value segment plays a key role in the beer category. In fact, one in every four beers consumed in the U.S. is a value brand," Ms. Phillips stated. "Anheuser-Busch is the undisputed leader in this segment, with Busch and Busch Light representing two of the top 10 beer brands in the nation overall."
AB InBev -- which holds exclusive Super Bowl ad rights to the game for the beer category -- has not revealed the remainder of its Super Bowl ad lineup. Budweiser and Bud Light will almost certainly get slots, if recent history is any indication. The stakes will be high for Bud Light, which is moving away from its celebrity-filled and politically themed "Bud Light Party," which debuted in this year's Super Bowl. The campaign ended in October amid disappointing sales results.