Helen Mirren Tells Off Drunk Drivers for Anomaly, Budweiser

By Erik Oster 

Budweiser released one of its two Super Bowl spots from Anomaly, tackling the issue of drunk driving with the always charming Helen Mirren.

The “Notoriously frank and uncensored British lady” addresses the camera and audience from a restaurant table as where she is presumably enjoying a burger and a Budweiser with the opening line “The collective we are dumbfounded that people still drive drunk.” She goes on to express her disgust with drunk drivers by telling viewers that if they drive drunk they are an “oxygen-wasting, human form of pollution,” along with myriad other insults. Not only is the message a valiant one, but the spot is even entertaining enough to grab the attention of viewers who may otherwise make poor decisions that night, thanks in no small part to Mirren’s considerable charm. (Although we refuse to believe someone as classy as Mirren would dare drink a Budweiser, let alone straight from the bottle.) In addition to the big game ad, Budweiser partnered with Twitter to create a branded emoji, and “#GiveADamn” hashtag and pledged to donate a dollar to safe ride programs every time the hashtag is used. There’s also a mobile site, StandWithBud.com, which shows visitors all the different options they have to get home safely. 

“We want this spot to really cut through and create conversation about drunken driving,” said Brian Perkins, vice president of marketing, Budweiser North America, told Adweek. “To do that, our hypothesis was that we had to break some rules and conventions for how this is normally addressed. So there’s no roads, no vehicles, no smashed-to-pieces glass on the ground. … The selection of Helen Mirren fits that strategy.” 

It’s a refreshing change of pace from the disingenuous (look at the rate the brand’s parent company is gobbling up small breweries) appeal to ignorance of Anomaly’s craft-bashing spot for the brand last year and the appeal to the lowest common denominator of the brand’s horses and puppies. While there won’t be any dogs for the brand during the big game, it will be bringing back its Clydesdales for “Not Backing Down,” which the brand won’t release until the day of the Super Bowl.


“The overall message and the overall strategy [with Bud’s two Super Bowl spots] is that we wanted to convey care,” added Perkins. “Number one, show care in how we brew the beer—which is much more the track of the spot ‘Not Backing Down.’ The next piece was to convey how much we care about the person who drinks our beer—which is ‘Simply Put.’ … We’re a brand that cares enough to make a cultural leadership statement on the Super Bowl.”