Anheuser-Busch makes the case for beer, not its individual brands, in Super Bowl ad

Spot produced by David Fincher positions beer as being there for life’s big and small moments

Published On
Feb 04, 2021

Editor's Pick

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s first-ever corporate Super Bowl ad is less about the brewing giant’s individual brands—and more about the role that beer in general plays in people’s lives. 

The 60-second ad—which is from Wieden+Kennedy, directed by Adam Hashemi at Reset, and produced by David Fincher—features a series of scenes in which people share beers during moments that range from an outdoor wedding spoiled by rain to gathering around an airport bar with strangers after a flight has been delayed. In one scene, a woman invites a coworker out for a beer as he’s packing up his belongings, presumably because he was fired or laid off. 

The spot, called “Let’s Grab a Beer,” shows several social gatherings in which no masks are worn and people are close together—an odd sight at a time when the mere act of grabbing beers with friends seems so out of reach for many people in the middle of the pandemic. But the brewer is trying to foreshadow a time when small social gatherings won’t be interrupted by social distancing. A voiceover near the end of the ad refers to a time “when we are back.”  

A spokeswoman said the spot is “a timeless ad taking place either in past memories or a hoped-for future.” The brewer gave a similar response when asked about the lack of masks in its Bud Light Super Bowl spot, which was released on Tuesday. 

The ad strikes an almost melancholy tone—a departure from the typical high-energy social occasions featured in beer ads. And AB InBev’s brands—which include Michelob Ultra, Budweiser and Stella Artois—are hardly noticed, limited to a supporting role in the hands of the people in the spot.

Marcel Marcondes, the brewer’s chief marketing officer, in a statement said the ad’s insight “comes straight out of real life as so many people are just longing to be together with their friends and family again. So, while the spot shows many of the brands in our portfolio in different situations, the beer is not the hero of the ad. The people are.”

Karl Lieberman, chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy, added: “Right now, the everyday, seemingly mundane act of sitting down and having a beer with a friend feels more missed, more important and more sacred than ever. And while the big events in our lives like graduations and birthdays are massively important, many of the most profound conversations and experiences we have actually happen on a random Tuesday over a beer. With the help of David Fincher's vision, we wanted to bring that notion to life and craft a beautiful love letter to beer that showed how powerful it is when we can come together for each other.”

While AB InBev—which holds exclusive alcohol ad rights for the game—is spending plenty of money touting its own brands, including two ads for Bud Light and two for Michelob Ultra, the presence of a spot that markets the beer category more generally will likely be welcomed by its competitors. It comes at a time when beer continues to fight for market share with spirits and wine.

Marcondes stated that “this ad is really about the role the beer category plays in people’s lives. Now more than ever, it’s become clear just how much people miss getting together. As the leader in the beer category, we felt the responsibility to tell that story.”

It is not the first time that Anheuser-Busch pushed the total beer category in the Super Bowl. The brewer in 2006 turned over one of its Big Game spots for an industry-wide effort that included the Beer Institute, a beer trade group. The spot, called “Here’s to Beer,” showed people toasting with brews in different languages. But the broader campaign faltered after its leader, Anheuser-Busch, was unable to gain cooperation from its competitors, including Miller, which suspected the Budweiser maker’s motives.

This year’s ad comes two years after Bud Light ran three Super Bowl ads as part of its ongoing medieval "Dilly Dilly" campaign that called out Coors Light and Miller Lite for using corn syrup. That sparked an intense legal battle between MillerCoors and AB InBev that spilled over into a PR war between the nation’s two largest brewers.


Feb 04, 2021
Client :
Agency :
Wieden & Kennedy - New York
US Chief Marketing Officer :
Marcel Pereira Marcondes
VP Marketing Culture and Capabilities :
Matthew Kohan
Agency :
3pm Agency
Agency :
Weber Shandwick
EVP 3PM Agency Lead :
Brian Williams
VP Integrated Communications :
Kelly Ricci
Media :
VP Director :
Michelle Snodgrass
VP Digital Lead :
Chris Wilson
Global Chief Creative Officer :
Karl Lieberman
Global Chief Operating Officer :
Neal Arthur
Director of Strategic Planning :
Dan Hill
Creative Director :
Michael Hagos
Copywriter :
Brad Phifer
Head of Integrated Production :
Nick Setounski
Executive Producer :
Jessica Griffeth
Senior Producer :
Bianca Cochran
Group Account Director :
Brooke Stites
Account Supervisor :
Meredith Zambito
Group Strategy Director :
Stephane Missier
Strategist :
Matt Hisamoto
Social Strategist :
Irsis Cabral
Comms Director :
Zack Green
Business Affairs :
Daniella Vargas
Traffic Coordinator :
Tina Wyatt
Production Company :
Executive Producer :
David Fincher
Director :
Adam Hashemi
Assistant Director :
Bob Wagner
Directors of Photography :
Chayse Irvin
Directors of Photography :
Eigil Bryld
Production Designer :
Don Burt
Managing Director/Executive Producer :
Dave Morrison
Executive Producer :
Deannie O’Neil
Producer :
Vincent Landay
Assistant Producer :
Grace Campos
Editorial and Finishing :
Additional Editor :
Grant Surmi
Assistant Editor :
Christopher Fetsch
Flame Artist :
Dino Tsaousis
Flame Assistant :
Adam Greenberg
Executive Producer :
Sasha Hirschfeld
Post Producer :
Toby Louie
Visual Effects :
Creative Director :
Wei Zheng
Producer :
Alexander Beale
Telecine Company :
No. 13
Colorist :
Eric Weidt
Original Music :
Barking Owl
Composer :
Atticus Ross
Creative Director :
Kelly Bayett
Sound Design + Mix :
Mit Out Sound
Sound Designer and Editor :
Ren Klyce
Dialogue and Foley Editor :
Jonathon Stevens
Mixer :
Ren Klyce
Mixer :
Jeff King
Executive Producer :
Misa Kageyama
Voiceover Record :
Sonic Union
Mix Engineer :
Joe O’Connell

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