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How Budweiser Won the Superbowl with Snark.

Anyone catch that Budweiser Ad on the Superbowl?

They had a few, but which one was the most successful?
Most would say if it was the one about the puppy that gave you all those feels.


You would be quite wrong though.
If you looked at the 1,810+ articles on Google News 12 hours after it aired, I believe the ad that won the Superbowl for Budweiser was the one that drew a clear line between the craft brew scene and the “salt of the earth” crowd that drinks Budweiser.

First, you gotta see the video. If you like craft beer, prepare to feel a little singled out…

Pretty snarky huh? So many snarks. Also, like all stereotypes poking fun, there was just enough truth to sting craft beer heads.

Why do I think this spot won the Superbowl while everyone else is talking about what a bad move it was for Budweiser to alienate the burgeoning craft scene? Sometimes I just know. I can see their war room in my head right now…

I think Budweiser’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev knew EXACTLY what they were doing and they executed perfectly. If you think this is conspiratorial, then you haven’t been in the marketing industry or you would you would know this kind of thing is not unusual. Let’s continue this assumed reality for now.

Lets rewind to Superbowl 2014.
Last year Budweiser took a wholly different approach by talking about their newest micro-brews. What happened was most people in the craft beer / micro-brew scene wrote it off as big corporate beer company trying to be something they are not. That’s actually an accurate conclusion.  Your grandparents just can’t hang with the cool kids. It is a fact that micro-brews are a serious threat for so called “macro-breweries” like Budweiser, with 2,800+ breweries and rising and with young demographics flocking to these more interesting beers almost exclusively. Budweiser is their parent’s beer.

This is a major concern for big beer. Look at Kodak and other companies that didn’t embrace future tastes and trends. They perish. Budweiser knows this and has been on a tear snapping up microbreweries including ones that craft beer enthusiasts covet such as Goose Island and it’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.

So now back to 2015.
What if this year, knowing that the craft scene won’t accept Budweiser’s previous pro-micro-brewery sentiments, their war room in my mind goes something like this:

Budweiser Black Ops Marketing Room

“Hey guys… micro brew people are always gonna hate… Good Press or Bad Press how can we get LOTS OF PRESS?”

“Well to get media coverage you need online chatter. To get online chatter you need a controversy.”

(This is all true.)

“Oh HEEEEY GUYS, So what if we just smacked craft enthusiasts right in their stereotypically waxed mustaches to purposely get a hardcore backlash and response on social media…!!!”


Because that’s exactly what happened the moment the commercial played.

Metrics yo…Pump up MixPanel and let’s start that Cohort Analysis for you marketing geeks, am I right? Let me continue.

I mean the Budweiser customer base isn’t nearly as active on social media compared to the craft beer scene given their age demographic. Surely, Budweiser knew the loudest online voice would be outraged or insulted craft crew who trend younger overall and are far more active on social media than the Bud base. When confronted all the VP in charge was deny the intent and claim they did not really mean to offend the craft beer scene.

Their was even a moment of ultimate insult where they talk about a ludicrous “Pumpkin Peach Ale”…


…which turned out be an actual beer owned by a company called Elysian that AB InBev OWNS as of last week.  In fact it was even more complex than what they were making fun of being a Pecan Pumpkin Peach Ale. Isn’t that just perfect?

I call BULL$*&! on it all. Brilliant, brilliant BULL$*&!

Big corporations screw up all the time, but this team is not dumb.
In fact, Budweiser had four Social Media war rooms in different time zones last night acting in real time, even buying up keywords for Loctite, Coors and others to the point where Loctite told them on Twitter to back the hell off their promoted keywords.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.09.20 PM

My point is, Budweiser knew what was up… they knew precisely what the fallout would be.
Now if you really do subscribe to any press is good press, than that Budweiser black ops marketing team is just thrilled with how the internet lit up today. If not for the snark in this #BrewedTheHardWay, they would have been only mentioned as follows: “Oh great puppy commercial“, but  not much to talk about there, huh?

Today every site from Forbes, to Reddit to Twitter is lit up with Budweiser brand impressions in the millions, discussions, debates, post-ops and dissections… that’s engagement!

I would venture to say the public, Budweiser fans and craft beer fans are more educated on Budweiser today then at any other recent time and they didn’t have to self promote. The web is doing Budweiser 101 right now and Budweiser doesn’t even have to spend to do it. They spent $9M on this commercial and they are really getting their money’s worth if you look at the cost of institutional press or this kind of social exposure.

So to Budweiser’s marketing team, I just wanted to say that this was a perfectly placed sucker punch.
Bravo and very well done. You got everyone…


Almost everyone that is…

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1 Comment

  1. Nicholas February 4, 2015

    loved your analysis and shared on twitter but widget gave credit to @wasim208 (404)

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