See Busch Light’s Super Bowl ad starring Sarah McLachlan

Marketing head Krystyn Stowe explains the strategy

Published On
Feb 03, 2023

Editor's Pick

A lesson in outdoor survival skills takes an unexpectedly wild turn in Busch Light’s Super Bowl ad, the first in five years for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s fast-growing value-priced beer.

The 30-second ad from the Martin Agency kicks off what brand execs say will be a yearlong campaign built around “The Busch Guide”—wilderness lessons coming from the flannel-shirted “Busch Guy.” Busch Light is the first brand to release its full Super Bowl ad in advance of the Feb. 12 game on Fox.

The “Shelter” commercial features the Busch Guy character giving fans the first lesson by teaching them how to find outdoor shelter. The spot then cuts to a tent where singer Sarah McLachlan is huddled alongside a wolf-like dog, reciting lines reminiscent of her ubiquitous PSAs for animal shelters as the melody from her 1997 song “Angel” plays in the background.

The Busch Light ad is part of AB InBev's three minutes of in-game national commercial time, which also includes ads for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.

Busch Light is riding sales momentum that Krystyn Stowe, head of marketing for Busch Family Brands at the brewer's U.S. division, ascribed to a “laser-focused, consistent year-over-year marketing playbook centered around a clear and unique brand purpose.”

Below, Stowe shares more details on the strategy. (This interview, conducted via email, has been edited for clarity and length.)

Why is Busch Light deserving of a national Super Bowl spotlight this year?

Busch Light has been having a tremendous hot streak, continuing its popularity in markets across the country. In 2021, Busch Light became the fourth-fastest-growing beer brand in the U.S. beer category and in 2022 Busch Light was the fourth-fastest-growing beer brand in terms of category share. Our last national Super Bowl spot was in 2017, and following our return to the Super Bowl regionally last year, we’re excited to be back with a national Super Bowl spot this year. Because the brand is growing exponentially, we wanted to give our fans something fun and lighthearted to look forward to during the big game.  

Related: See Busch's 2017 Super Bowl commercial

Why is Sarah McLachlan the right surprise for this Super Bowl story?

Following last year’s reprisal of “Head for the Mountains” featuring Kenny G, we wanted to revive another commercial classic that provides more reasons to crack open a Busch Light during this year’s Super Bowl.

It was almost impossible to watch TV without seeing Sarah McLachlan’s iconic animal shelter ads in the 2000s. We saw an opportunity to take someone famously associated with shelter and explore the topic from a totally new, wilderness-centric lens. Knowing Sarah is an avid supporter of finding homes for the animals we love, and we focus on helping organizations like One Tree Planted that protect the homes of animals in the great outdoors, we knew she would be the perfect fit.

What are your ambitions for the brand this year? What are the top priorities? 

We attribute much of Busch Light’s success to a laser-focused, consistent year-over-year marketing playbook centered around a clear and unique brand purpose and meeting our consumers where they already are with a Busch Light in hand—in the great outdoors, taking in a NASCAR race, or listening to their favorite country music artists. These ingredients will continue to be the staples of the plan moving forward. 

One of our top priorities this year will be our “Busch Guide” campaign. The Super Bowl spot is part of this new campaign that will launch this year that revolves around the fictional “Busch Guide,” a rugged resource filled with “cold and smooth survival skills.” With the beer’s flannel-clad, outdoorsy mascot, the Busch Guy, as our star and a little bit of woodsy wordplay, the “Busch Guide” was born. Throughout the year, we will share more ads revealing the Busch Guy’s full “Busch Guide,” with lessons that focus on different areas of outdoors preparedness including signaling for help, facing a black bear, avoiding poison ivy and more.