'Dilly Dilly' Touchdown: Bud Light to Bring its Catchphrase to the Super Bowl
It's a catchphrase so nice, Bud Light wants you to say it thrice.
Bud Light is so bullish on "Dilly Dilly" that it is making the made-up medieval beer toast the focal point of three new ads that will climax with a 60-second Super Bowl spot. Brand VP Andy Goeler refers to the new ads as a "trilogy" that will expand the brand's "Game of Thrones"-inspired universe with new characters.
The first new spot will debut Christmas Day during the Steelers-Texans NFL game on NBC. It features a wizard who turns random objects into 12-packs of Bud Light at the request of a medieval king and queen.
The royals first appeared when the campaign debuted in late August, the same weekend as the "Game of Thrones" season finale. Another spot featuring other new characters will air during the NFC and AFC championship games on Jan. 21. Goeler declined to reveal creative details on the Super Bowl ad, but confirmed that it will not include celebrities.
"We are going to rely on 'Dilly Dilly' to be our celebrity," he says. "We've got a good buzz going with that."
The campaign, created by Wieden & Kennedy New York, has caught fire, earning Bud Light plenty of mentions on social media and across TV. Just this week, "Dilly Dilly" was bandied about on NBC's "Today Show." Goeler swore brand-owner Anheuser-Busch InBev did not pay for that or other random Dilly Dilly random mentions made by TV personalities in recent weeks.
"It just continues to permeate culture and people are having fun with it," he says. "It kind of rolls off your tongue. And who doesn't like a beer toast?"
As with most things medieval, there's a rub: Dilly Dilly has yet to propel the long-struggling brand into positive sales territory. Bud Light dollar sales were down 4.4 percent year-to-date through Dec. 3 and it lost 0.95 market share points, according to IRI data cited by Beer Marketer's Insights. Dilly Dilly "has made them part of the cultural conversation again, but in the big picture the trends haven't really improved much," says Beer Marketer's publisher, Benj Steinman.
Goeler says Bud Light is "declining but it has it has stabilized in the past three to four months. It's not declining the way it was." He adds: "There is no doubt in my mind this brand can be in growth phase again."
"I've talked to bartenders who tell me people come in and say, 'Dilly Dilly me'— that means give them a Bud Light," he says. "Not just one bartender. I've heard that story quite a lot. So I think it's critical for us to keep putting content out there so people do connect it to the brand."
Bud Light recently scored a PR win with how it responded to a new brew called "Dilly Dilly Mosaic Double IPA" that a Minneapolis craft brewer called Modist Brewing marketed. Instead of sending the normal lawyerly cease-and desist letter alleging trademark infringement, Bud Light had some fun with it. The brand sent a man dressed in medieval garb to Modist's offices and he read from a parchment paper scroll: "We are duly flattered by your royal tribute. However, 'Dilly Dilly' is the motto of our realm. So we humbly ask that you keep this to a limited-edition one-time-only run. This is by order of the king."
Bud Light threw in two Super Bowl tickets.
A video of the proceedings was posted on Modist's Facebook page. It has drawn 3,700 shares and 489,000 views to date. Was it an elaborate stunt? Goeler says no: "It was completely unplanned. They had a blast with it." As for the Dilly Dilly IPA, "they made one batch of it and stopped," he says.