This week, one of the most iconic alcohol campaigns in advertising history is rising from the swamp after more than 20 years, as AB InBev has brought back its Budweiser frogs … for sister brand Bud Light’s U.K. debut.
Among the original trio of “Bud,” “Weis” and “Er” from the 1995 Super Bowl ad, it appears only “Bud” has survived into froggy old age, but he has two new buddies with him—whose one-word vocabularies deviate from the expected. The 30-second spot follows last month’s introduction of America’s top-selling brew to British shores. Mcgarrybowen London is the creative agency, with Framestore doing the visual effects.
Stylistically, the ad, which launched today, is nearly identical to the one that stemmed from a concept dreamed up by copywriter David Swaine and art director Michael Smith at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles way back in 1994.
By this point, the first spot’s origin story has become so infused with industry mythology that even Swaine wouldn’t tell USA Today how the idea came about in a 20th anniversary interview.
Yet the three frogs remain some of the most memorable advertising icons of the 20th century. The work won top honors at the Clios and Cannes Lions and grew so big that it led to questions about whether beer campaigns were targeting children, many of whom remembered the frogs as well as other iconic characters like Tony the Tiger and even Bugs Bunny.
Ironically, DMB&B lost the Budweiser business despite the characters’ runaway popularity, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners later expanded the campaign narrative to include other characters like the New York-bred chameleons Frankie and Louie.
Here’s the original ad:
“More than 20 years on from its original release, we still receive comments from people who remember the Frogs and ask us if we are bringing them back,” said Bud Light marketing manager Andre Finamore. “The launch of Bud Light in the U.K. is one of AB InBev’s biggest-ever brand campaigns. To celebrate this, we’re playing on the nostalgic elements of one of our most iconic and memorable ads, while also giving it a uniquely Bud Light twist.”
The first signs of Bud Light’s presence in Britain came in the form of billboards that went up several weeks ago.
As one can see from its nascent Twitter presence, the brand has not yet begun its full cross-media campaign. But there will surely be more work to come.
Client: Bud Light
Campaign: “Bud Light Frogs”
Head of Account Management: Louise Lang
Account Managers: Lucy West & Annabella Smith
Executive Creative Directors: Paul Jordan & Angus Macadam
Creative Directors: Holly Fallows & Charlotte Watmough
Producer: Alessia Small
Audio Postproduction: Wave Studios
Editor: Neil Drummond
Postproduction Company: Framestore