A-B Shifts NHL Line

Anheuser-Busch has changed course with its Bud Light campaign for the National Hockey League. The St. Louis brewer has put its long-running Bubble Boys on hiatus, replacing them with a group of human hockey fanatics.

A new campaign fashioned by Chicago agency Fusion Idea Lab broke earlier this month and will run through the rest of the hockey season, which ends in June.

A pool of 30-second spots center around a group of hockey fans who sport mullet haircuts and hockey jerseys and live in a fictional northern town called Hockey Falls, according to Tom Renaud, Fusion’s director of business and client services.

Anheuser-Busch wanted work that was a departure from the Bubble Boys campaign but still spoke to hockey fans in a humorous way, sources said.

One spot in the new campaign has a guy showing off his 1972 Boston Bruins jacket to envious friends in a diner. The guy boasts that the jacket has been signed by all the players. A waitress then spills a drink on the autographed sleeve and proceeds to wipe off all the signatures as the guy and his friends watch in horror.

Future commercials will include hockey stars such as Wayne Gretzky and Phil Esposito, who come to Hockey Falls to hang out with the fans there.

The Bubble Boys effort was a series of humorous ads that put comical voices to the plastic figures of a tabletop hockey game. The boys attempt schemes to join the NHL.