We love ourselves some limited-edition custom packaging. It's the kind of non-news that works almost mindbendingly hard to prove it's worth mentioning, making it a princely marketing exercise.
That's what you get in Bud Light's flagrantly titled new ad, "This Is Your Can's Year." Sounds confusing at first, but it's really just that simple: It's time for your can to shine. It promotes Bud Light's latest cans with NFL team logos on them—introduced last month, after a first run last year. The new spot will debut tonight during CBS's Thursday Night Football, for which the brand is presenting sponsor.
All the standard ad land levers are pulled—hard. Really, all that's missing is a Clydesdale and a puppy. Created by industry darlings Wieden + Kennedy, it features Bo Jackson (seen playing Tecmo Bowl—nostalgia tug!), Justin Tuck and Tim Couch.
It's also a whopping 75 seconds long and was directed by Mark Romanek, who, among other things, is responsible for the "Sandcastles" music video in Beyoncé's Lemonade, Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" video, Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (along with a slew of other ads).
That's some serious firepower for a Giants-embossed beer can. And the video doesn't disappoint, working with sweat-beading vigor to show how a six-pack of fandom can literally change the game. In a dizzying feat of marketing acrobatics, the ad directly conflates your can with your team: "You root for this can. Your father roots for this can. Your father's father rooted for this can!"
Hear that? It's the beer with your team on it. Consider what that means, or don't, because Tuck already has: "The game wouldn't be the same for us players without the fans who put their heart and soul into gameday," says the former defensive end. "The Bud Light ad honors each and every one of these fans and their passion for the sport."
The newly streamlined can designs are inspired by classic football jerseys. Bud Light, the official beer sponsor of the NFL, inked local agreements with 28 of the 32 teams, who will each have their own limited-edition packaging. Billboards and other geo-specific out-of-home elements will sport signature phrases fans know, and :15 and :30 versions of the spot will also air throughout football season, on top of team-specific ads in local markets. All creative comes courtesy of W+K.
"Just like wearing your favorite player's jersey or team colors is a badge of honor, so is drinking from your Bud Light team can," beams Bud Light senior marketing director Mark Goldman. "Our mission with our new film was to pay tribute to the passion fans feel for their team, and capture the optimism that we all feel as NFL fans at the beginning of the season, when it truly can be your team's year."
Catch the ad live tonight. And if you're worried you'll forget, don't: To kick the season off, Bud Light will be ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange today. You really couldn't miss it if you tried.
Client: Bud Light
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy