Bud Light’s knight, who was viciously slain in the brand's “Game of Thrones”-themed Super Bowl ad, has been resurrected.
A new ad shows the knight coming back to life after a wizard casts a few spells. It turns out he is merely chanting varieties of pasta. The spot is a follow-up to the Super Bowl ad, which showed the knight being brutally killed in a jousting duel with The Mountain character from "Game of Thrones." That ad was co-branded with HBO as part of the network’s #ForTheThrone campaign hyping the final season of the hit show, which begins April 14. It was handled by HBO’s agency, Droga5, and Wieden & Kennedy, which handles Bud Light.
The Super Bowl spot was notable for its gore, considering that Bud Light ads, and beer ads in general, tend to be lighthearted. The ad also raised eyebrows because the brand killed off a lead character in its so-called “Dilly Dilly” campaign, which debuted in late 2017. But the slaughter stuck with the spirit of “Game of Thrones,” which is known for killing off main characters. Indeed, HBO insisted that the Bud Knight die, according to a Wall Street Journal story about the ad shoot.
The new ad is a lot more lighthearted than the Super Bowl spot, but it also nods to the show: The knight’s resurrection is meant to be a reference to how Jon Snow perished at the end of Season 5 before coming back to life in Season 6.
“We loved the parallel between ‘Game of Thrones’ and our ‘Dilly Dilly’ universe,” says a Bud Light spokesman. “Much like Jon Snow coming back to life, we liked the idea of doing the same thing with a beloved character like Bud Knight, too.”
While the “Game of Thrones” ad drew a lot of attention Super Bowl night, Bud Light’s other spots mocking Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup in the brewing process have had a more lasting effect, at least within the beer industry where it sparked the biggest beer marketing war in several years. Miller Lite fired back with its own ads, including one that spoofs Bud Light’s “Game of Thrones” Super Bowl spot by showing an actor in the ad drinking a Miller Lite after a fictional ad shoot. The two brewers are also dueling in court where MillerCoors is alleging that the Bud Light spots amount to "a false and misleading advertising campaign targeting Miller Lite and Coors Light."
Bud Light’s campaign has yet to boost sales. In the four weeks ending March 24, the brand was down 7 percent, according to a recent report from Evercore ISI. Coors Light was down 4 percent and Miller Lite was down 1 percent.