Anomaly, Budweiser Are ‘Not Backing Down’

By Erik Oster 

Earlier this week, Budweiser unveiled a Super Bowl spot from Anomaly, thankfully eschewing both puppies and attacks on microbreweries churning out a superior product for a sitdown with Helen Mirren about the perils of drunk driving. At the time, the brand promised to release its second big game spot at a later date, with the only revealed being that it would feature the brand’s famed clydesdales. Today the brand released the extended version of that second spot, which is a follow-up to last year’s craft-bashing “Brewed the Hard Way.”

This year’s effort, “Not Backing Down” is a little less aggressive in its attacks on smaller breweries, in the wake of parent company AB-InBev going on a craft brewery buying spree in December which saw the purchases of Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewing, Arizona’s Four Peaks Brewing Company and the U.K.’s Camden Town Brewery. That’s not to suggest that those acquisitions prompted the slightly toned-back approach this year, as it didn’t stop Anomaly and Bud from mocking pumpkin beers in their big game ad last year in the wake of the purchase of Elysian Brewing Company, a brewery well-known for the style.

Whatever reason, the slight change in approach is a marked improvement over last year. It opens with shots of the clydesdales and Budweiser’s massive brewing facilities before celebrating the brand as “Not Ponies” and “Not Small.” There are still noticeable digs at smaller breweries (and homebrewers) with the lines “Not A Hobby” and “Not Sipped” but these feel more muted than in last year’s effort. Rather than focus too much on the negatives, the spot sees the brand and Anomaly going directly after the kind of consumer most likely to purchase Budweiser: men (there is an undeniable stereotypical masculinity to the spot) who care more about projecting an image of rugged toughness than the quality of their beer (and in fact may see paying any attention to the latter as impeding on the former). This is exemplified in a shot of an elderly gentlemen flicking a lemon slice off of his beer glass, accompanied by the text “Not A Fruit Cup” (it’s worth noting that A-B InBev brand Shock Top is routinely served with an orange slice). The spot concludes with two lines that complete the message, “Not For Everyone” and “Not Backing Down.” It’s a big improvement over last year’s effort, as Anomaly comes closer to managing the trick of presenting the brand’s many weaknesses as strengths. It also works well with this year’s other effort, which seems to target a different demographic, making for a fairly solid big game effort overall from Anomaly for the adjunct lager brand.