It's turning out to be an expensive February of advertising for Anheuser-Busch InBev. The brewer, which flooded the Super Bowl with eight ads, will appear in Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast on ABC with a 60-second spot for Budweiser starring actress Charlize Theron.
The 60-second spot by VaynerMedia plugs Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager. The limited-edition beer, which launched last year, is co-branded with the Jim Beam name. It is aged on bourbon barrel staves, which are the wood pieces that make up bourbon barrels. The ad shows Theron at a bar schooling a bunch of dudes at billiards, darts and a boxing game before defeating one of them at arm wrestling—all without spilling a drop of her Copper Lager. The soundtrack is Run-DMC's "Tricky."
Ricardo Marques, VP of marketing for core and value brands at AB InBev, says the swagger-filled ad was inspired by Theron's movie roles, including "Atomic Blonde."
"We like her confidence," he says. "We think it's a bold way to deliver the message that there is a new Bud in town." Copper Lager, which carries a more expensive price tag than regular Bud, will remain on shelves until the end of April, when it will be replaced by the next beer in Budweiser's so-called Reserve Series.
The brewer originally planned to run a 30-second version of the ad in the Super Bowl, but opted at the last minute to hold it for the Oscars and run it as a 60-second ad. Marques says the Oscars was a better fit because the award-show audience "is more likely to be looking for premium brands."
Last year 30 seconds of airtime at the Oscars ran for $2.1 million, according to Kantar Media. That's nearly twice the cost of a 30-second Grammys spot, but still less than half the price of a Super Bowl ad, which goes for more than $5 million for 30 seconds.
Budweiser has not run an Oscars ad since 2005, but AB InBev appeared in the show from 2015 to 2017 with ads for Stella Artois. In 2016, the brewer also ran an ad for Bud Light.