Bud Light is ready for a brand reboot, and it is betting on the Super Bowl to help deliver it.
2023 was a tough year for the brand, which saw its sales decline double digits following an influencer-marketing campaign that included transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.
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It was also a year in which the AB Inbev brand used the big game to take a more sophisticated approach to marketing in a campaign starring Miles and Keleigh Teller.
Now, the beer brand is reversing course and leaning in to some of the traits that made its previous Super Bowl ads classics of the genre: Humor, wacky characters, and some big sports and music stars.
There will be a new character for the “Bud Light Universe”: The Bud Light Genie, (he joins an illustrious history of characters that include The Bud Knight, the “I love you man” guy, and the guy who sang “real men of genius”), and celebrity cameos from Bud Light veteran Post Malone, as well as NFL legend Peyton Manning and UFC chief Dana White. (The last of which may raise some eyebrows given White admitted to an instance of domestic violence on New Year’s Eve 2022.)
“We wanted to put the fans first in everything that we do, so you’ll see unparalleled access, epic experiences that turns into great content,” says Todd Allen, VP of marketing for Bud Light, in an interview. “Humor was important as well. You know, we’ve been doing Super Bowl ads since 1983. Some of the most iconic ads have leaned into humor. So we’re bringing that lightheartedness a bit back as well, more to the forefront. And the third thing was talent. You know, we’ve been at the intersection of sports, music, culture care entertainment for four years and we’ve made some great friends along the way and we wanted to bring some of those long standing partners into the mix as well.”
As for the celebrities featured in the spot, “we went big this year,” Allen says.
“We wanted to call on those longstanding friends of the brand to join us for the ride and they’re all aligned to the passion points and platforms that our fans know and love from Bud Light and expect from us,” he added.
Post Malone will be appearing in his third Bud Light commercial
“We created something truly epic and pretty damn funny together that I know the fans will love,” he said in a statement.
And Manning and the UFC signed on as Bud Light partners last year.
“The Super Bowl is the highlight of the NFL season for any player, and it’s always been a highlight for the Bud Light team as well,” said Manning. “We had a lot of fun making this commercial, and I’m sure a lot of people are going to be thinking through what they would wish for if they were lucky enough to meet the Bud Light Genie.”
“It was an absolute blast to be a part of Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercial this year,” said White. “Anheuser-Busch and the Super Bowl are two of the biggest American brands in the world. The cast, the director and Peyton were fun to work with and it was such an incredible way to kick off my new partnership with AB and Bud Light.”
The company is planning a flurry of activations on the ground in Las Vegas, from a takeover Sphere, to a concert featuring Zach Bryan and Leon Bridges.
It is also planning to bring its Bud Light Genie other platforms, including on Facebook Messenger, where users will be able to ask the genie to grant their own wishes. “We’re going to be making that happen throughout the whole year through money can’t buy experiences, through our NFL partnership, our UFC partnership, our country music partnerships with Zack Bryan with Post, and in college sports as well,” Allen says.
As for the origin of the genie character: “He is the perfect embodiment of easy enjoyment,” Allen says. “So really the idea is, it’s centered around this universal truth that a great night out with your friends should be easy, and there is no better embodiment of that then the Bud Light Genie. So he’s granting this group of friends wishes to make their night even more incredible from wishing Peyton Manning was in their friend crew to Post Malone playing at a house party getting interrupted by a T-Rex to being at a UFC weigh-in.”
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