Budweiser - Simply Put

February 07, 2016 | 1:00

Helen Mirren won an Academy Award for her title role in "The Queen," but she deserves a prize, too, for the King of Beers' first anti-drunk driving Super Bowl ad since 2006, when Cedric the Entertainer made the point a very different way ("Dance"). She turns a minute-long, unbroken lecture into an absolute pleasure, probably even for people who'd been planning to "drive carefully" on their way home from watching the game. And she helps Budweiser escape the trap of bringing people down with "message" advertising during the country's biggest secular holiday (see Nationwide's "Boy" from 2015 for an example that didn't work as well).

"It's a drunk driving spot, which is not a new topic for us as a company to address. But it is a very new approach," Brian Perkins, U.S. VP for the Budweiser brand, told Ad Age. "Because I can't recall a drunk driving spot being this direct and provocative. And that was the whole intent -- to spark a lot of conversation.

Budweiser and agency Anomaly ran the ad in the fourth quarter, around the time people were starting to think about how to get home, and how many drinks they'd had. But they also released the ad on Feb. 2, five days before it aired in Super Bowl 50, and supported it with a microsite at StandWithBud.com that let people to do zip code searches for a list of ride services in their area. Consumers could also take a pledge to "#GiveADamn" and share it on social media, selecting from phrases inspired by the ad, such as "I will not be a selfish pile of poop."

Bud promised to donate $1 to safe-ride programs for every time the hashtag was used until 11:59 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, up to $1 million. Using the hashtag also triggered an emoji that shows a Bud bottle beside the image of a hand dropping a set of car keys.

Budweiser's first safe-driving ad in the Super Bowl appeared in 2000, when Wayne Gretzsky confiscated a friend's keys even to a very moving vehicle ("Zamboni").  

Director: Jake Scott, whose other big-game spots include Bud's "Return of the King" and "Puppy Love," Coca-Cola's "Going All the Way" and Kia's "Space Babies."  Production Company: RSA.

Chief creative officer: Mike Byrne. Partner: Jason Deland. Creative directors: Christine Gignac, Scott Hayes. Head of broadcast production: Andrew Lovenguth. Senior broadcast producer: Amy Bonin. Global managing director: Brent Rivard. Account director: Megan Armitage. Account supervisor: Regina Cardenas. Account executives: Stefanie Litman, Griffin Miller. 

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors N.Y. Editor: Adam Pertofsky.

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  • BrandBudweiser
  • Year2016
  • AgencyAnomaly
  • Superbowl #50
  • Quarter airedQ4