Bud Ice - When a Penguin Calls

January 28, 1996 | 1:00

There are talking animals in Super Bowl ads all the time, but not like this. Another minute-long concept piece from Anheuser-Busch in Super Bowl XXX (see also “Football”), Goodby Silverstein & Partners’ “When a Penguin Calls” is downright suspenseful and creepy in the best possible way.

It spawned a series of ads bringing back the flightless bird for Bud Ice, but the brand may not have been as popular as the ads. Bud Ice was introduced by Budweiser in 1994 as part of the parent company’s strategy to go after every potential segment of the beer market, taking up rivals’ space in store coolers at the same time. It had a higher alcohol content than the flagship Bud and was positioned as particularly smooth. Like fellow sub-brand Bud Dry, it quickly gained market share on the strength of Anheuser-Busch’s distribution system and ad spending, only to ultimately founder as consumers lost track of the distinctive selling proposition.

“When a Penguin Calls” was only one of many ads starring animals in Super Bowl XXX. Even the “Friends” episode that NBC awarded the coveted post-game slot began with a faux commercial for Monkeyshine beer, as Stuart Elliott pointed out in The New York Times.

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  • BrandBud Light
  • Year1996
  • AgencyGoodby, Silverstein & Partners
  • Superbowl #XXX
  • Quarter aired