A-B Says, ‘Here’s to Beer’

CHICAGO Anheuser-Busch will allot one of its 10 Super Bowl spots to beerdom.

“Here’s to Beer,” via DDB Chicago, will join A-B’s lineup of creative for Bud, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra Amber. The 30-second spot shows people from various countries hoisting a tall one, offering a toast in their native languages and then directs viewers to check out herestobeer.com.

The Web site goes live on Super Bowl Sunday and will feature a brew-house primer about different styles of beer; a timeline of beer history; a bistro section with food and beer cocktail recipes; a section for downloading beer-centric news and programming; and a listing of beer festivals and related events. The Beer Institute, the industry’s Washington trade group, is mentioned as the sponsor of the message.

“The Super Bowl isn’t the end, it’s the beginning,” said Bob Lachky, evp of global industry development at the Beer Institute, who added that the Web site eventually could include sweepstakes, promotions, consumer blogs and reviews.

Other aspects of the beer category campaign will include below-the-line tools that distributors can use to sell the category. The overall goal is to boost beer sales and stabilize market share, which has slipped from a 1995 peak of 61 percent to 58 percent in 2004, per Impact. During that period spirits grew to 28 percent from 27 percent while vintners’ share increased to 14 percent from 12 percent.

While a funding formula for “Here’s to Beer” may still have to be hashed out, Lachky said the Beer Institute’s endorsement is equivalent to support from other brewers. Since last summer, Lachky has approached Miller, Coors, Heineken, Modelo, Boston Beer’s Jim Koch and the Brewers Association about plans to market the category. Feedback has been supportive, but some like Miller are not earmarking funds explicitly for the effort. Brewers Association president Chuck Papazian was skeptical about whether a macrobrewer that demanded wholesalers focus on its portfolio would actually embrace all brewers.

Lachky said he would visit with the Brewers Association, which represents craft beer makers, again to talk about joining the effort.

For now the Super Bowl is the only television placement scheduled for “Here’s to Beer,” although Lachky said previously that TV could pop up during beer holidays like the Fourth of July.

“‘Here’s to Beer’ is a wonderful ad and consumers will not be confused [by the absence of branding], they’ll be intrigued,” said Lachky. “One thing about our society is it’s a wired society, and they’ll go to that Web site.”