It’s Super Bowl time and that means beer ads

January 16, 2009

We recently wrote that advertisers have even more riding on this Super Bowl than usual. There may be no better illustration of this than Anheuser-Busch InBev, brewer of such Super Bowl marketing staples as Bud and Bud Light.

Yesterday, the company gave the press a glimpse of some of its advertising for this year’s big game. The company has purchased 4-1/2 minutes worth of advertising time, once again making it the biggest Super Bowl advertiser.

At first glimpse, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s plans don’t seem that different than other years. It will go for humor in Bud Light spots and emotion in its Budweiser spots, using the Clydesdale horses. (Actually, it will run a record 3 Clydesdale commercials during the game).

But you get a sense from company executives that they feel like there is a lot riding on this year’s marketing blitz, given it comes during a recession when all budgets —  including, and perhaps especially, advertising — are under close scrutiny. Tossing a few million bucks at some commercial time is no easy decision right now.

Moreoever, the company has to rebuild some bridges after the rush of bad publicity that came with the takevoer last year by InBev (Think foreign super-company taking over American beer icon and you’ll get a sense how this thing was being played).

Executives acknowledged that with the takeover they want to remind the consumer that Budweiser is still that same proud, traditional beer.  

“That’s one of the things people are going to be looking for from Anheuser-Busch. It’s ‘Hey, what are you going to change?'” said Keith Levy, vice president of marketing. “The best thing we can do as marketers of a 133-year-old brand, in the case of Budweiser, is reassure them that the things they’ve grown accustomed to and love and feel are relevant still remain.”

We’ll see. Just a couple more weeks until kickoff.

Keep an eye on:

  • The world financial crisis has produced more than its share of losers. MySpace and other online social networks want to capitalize on them (Reuters)
  • Yahoo Inc’s new Chief Executive Carol Bartz will receive a compensation package of about $19 million in 2009, in addition to a bonus and stock options (Reuters)
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night, the latest victim of the industry’s huge problems (
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