Bud (Puppy) & Bud Light (Pacman) Super Bowl XLIX Millennials Strategy

For Super Bowl XLIX, Anheuser-Busch InBev, traditionally the Big Game’s biggest TV commercial spender, is focusing on its flagship Budweiser and Bud Light brands through multi-channel activation engaging Millennials that is spearheaded by three in-game TV commercials.


Anheuser-Busch InBev, the biggest add spender at last year’s Super Bowl at $152.5m (according to figures from Nielsen), has scaled down slightly this year from 2014’s 240 seconds of airtime to 210 seconds for Super Bowl XLIX.


With an average cost this year of $4.5m, the NFL’s official brewer has reportedly bought seven 30-second spots for the game and will run two 60-second commercials for Budweiser and a 90-second spot for Bud Light.


Of the two ads for its flagship Budweiser brand, developed with agency Anomaly, one will see the return of the Clydesdales and Puppy combination that topped most post-game polls as the best Super Bowl spot last year, while the other will highlight the brand’s ‘brewing credentials’.


A week before the game most of the strategy and much of the creative is already in the public space.


After all, like the majority of contemporary Super Bowl advertisers, A-B InBev believes in pre-release and is teasing and rolling out its spots early to take advantage of the pre-game ad buzz.


Perhaps the most anticipated off this year’s Super Bowl spots is Budweiser’s sequel to last year’s ‘Puppy Love’.


That 2014 ad, which racked up more than 55m YTVs, saw a puppy constantly escaping the fence surrounding its owner’s house and running to see a Clydesdale horse in adjoining stable.



To tease what looks like a classic, uplifting Budweiser new commercial, the beer brand has released GIF trailers prior to its official 1 February debut.


The GIFs show the dog hiding in rain-soaked boxes and sneaking through doors



and the Clydesdale horse bucking and commiserating the owner who his pining for the missing animal.



Both suggesting the ad will start as a tear-jerker and finish by warming our hearts.


These were supported by the brand posting a teaser picture on Twitter shows the puppy’s owner putting up ‘Lost Dog’ posters.


Then it posted a snippet ‘PuppyCam’ video teaser to further whet appetites,



Of course, Budweiser seldom disappoints at the Big Game and five days before the Super Bowl the ad itself was posted on the brand’s YouTube channel – revealing that this year’s puppy spot does indeed end on a happy note.



Alongside the spot itself, Bud also posted the inevitable behind-the-scenes ‘Making Of’ film,



plus a ‘Meet The Director and Cast’ film,



and an interview with the ‘Puppy Trainer’.



The Budweiser Clydesdales, who have appeared in the brand’s Super Bowl ads for nearly three decades, also star in a pre-game ‘Beer Run’ TV spot.



In fact, late January even saw Budweiser’s ‘Clydesdales’ Super Bowl advert from 2013 voted as the greatest Super Bowl advert of all time by CBS viewers.



The runner-up was the Coke Mean Joe commercial from 1979/80.



‘This year, they will live up to their reputation and once again save the day in a heart-warming story about best buds never letting you down,’ hints Budweiser VP Brian Perkins.


‘They continue to serve as time-honoured symbols of how we brew our beer: remarkable care and attention, sparing no expense, the highest quality and consistency.’


The other Budweiser ad will continue with the brand’s long running objective of positioning itself as ‘King of Beers’ through its quality, craft, and innovation.



Meanwhile, A-B InBev’s other Super Bowl brand, Bud Light, will garner the spotlight via a mammoth 90-second ‘Pacman’ commercial created in harness with agency Energy BBDO,


Pre-released on NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon’ on 22 January, the spot aims to tap into a Millennials sense of nostalgia and features a genuine (Millennial) Bud Light drinker enjoying an evening with Pac-Man in the form of becoming part of a real-life interactive game.



This spot is part of Bud Light’s ongoing ‘Up for Whatever’ initiative that began with the 2014 Super Bowl (see previous case study).


#UpForWhatever aims to inspire and excite the target demographic through a series of interactive challenges and experiences.


The creative, which doesn’t push the brand too hard at all, aims to generate the same type of excitement and energy to that experienced in the Big game itself.


This year’s Bud light Super Bowl work also promotes new packaging that will feature more than 100 different messages scrolled on Bud Light bottles.


It also sees the on-site construction of the ‘Bud Light House Of Whatever’


Bud Light is well known for taking over hotels, ships and venues – from festival season to the World Cup – and 2015 sees it offer Bud Light consumers and NFL fans once-in-a-lifetime #UpForWhatever experiences at Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix in its first-ever ‘Bud Light House of Whatever’.


For three days during Super Bowl week, the house will host fully immersive fan experiences – from unforgettable parties, to cool concerts and signature sports activities.


An invitation to the house is positioned as a reward to those consumers (21 and older) who prove they are truly up for whatever happens next.


‘Our fans have really enjoyed the ‘Up For Whatever’ activations we’ve done this year, from the ‘Epic Night’ spot at Super Bowl XLVIII to this summer’s incredible Whatever, USA, experience in Colorado,” says Bud Light VP Alex Lambrecht.


‘The Bud Light House of Whatever will keep that spirit going, so expect it to be the most unique party experience in Phoenix. You could say it’s the Super Bowl version of Whatever, USA.”


This idea builds on previous #UpForWhatever work, such as last Autumn’s #WhateverUSA town.





Budweiser is an iconic Super Bowl advertiser and its ads always rank amoung viewer favourites and this year Anheuser-Busch In-Bev has given itself three shots at winning over the audience.


Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl strategy builds on what it has learnt about targeting Millennials in the last two years (particularly from the last two Super Bowls and the 2014 World Cup)..


Millennials, the demographic segment that is the brand’s current key priority, aren’t satisfied with traditional media in isolation and A-B InBev believe the cohort prefers to build brand relationships via multi-channel initiatives.


Hence #UpForWhatever’s three-day on-site party in Super Bowl host city Phoenix, Arizona.


The company itself claims this approach is revolutionising brand loyalty building.


Its World Cup campaign saw A-B InBev receive more than four million votes for its Budweiser Man of the Match voting platform that was integrated into a FIFA World Cup app.


While it reports that last summer’s ‘WhateverUSA’ event in Colorado actually reached around 90% of the 21- to 27-year-olds in the USA and generated two million on-premise interactions’.


In fact, 200,000 people submitted videos to audition for a role in this program – just one of several strands within the campaign.


‘Whatever’ also created 40,000 separate content pieces resulting in an engagement rate 40% higher than the engagement rate the company saw in last year’s Super Bowl.


And the 2015 Super Bowl campaign will learn from these results with in-person live events linked to digital apps engaging large scale audiences.


The brewer is also adjusting its media buying too.


‘As the media landscape changed, what we see is that the Busch Media Group that was very, very good at buying sports and traditional media on TV was not as well-equipped because of the volume they buy, not because of anything else, but because of the sheer scale of this other new media,’ explains CEO Carlos Alves de Brito.


‘So we decided to look around and we found, of course — we did a benchmark and we found other media companies that their sole purpose in life is to plan and buy media. And when you look at the WPP, the biggest [media buyer] in the world, they buy media at a better price, especially the new digital and alternative medias compared to Busch Media Group that only buy to ourselves.’


So a few months ago AB InBev appointed WPP’s Mediacom for US media planning and buying duties and then increased its media budget (it says sales and marketing investments increased by 11.1% year-to-date in 2014).


A key difference between Super Bowl 2015 and the 2014 World Cup is geographical reach and thus the brand portfolio.


For the Super Bowl, A-B InBev is focusing only on its two US brands priorities, whilst at the FIFA World Cup it activating around a brand suite that spanned Budweiser, Brahma, Quilmes, Hasseröder, Jupiler, Beck’s, Cass, Harbin and Siberian Crown (to connect local fans with local brands).




Bud Light Super Bowl Website


Bud Light Up For Whatever




Budweiser Clydesdales


Super Bowl 49


NFL Website






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