A-B Gets Its Head in the Big Game

NEW YORK Anheuser-Busch said today that four minutes of the ad time it purchased on the Feb. 3 telecast of Super Bowl XLII on Fox primarily would reinforce Bud Light’s “Keeps it coming” campaign and the “Great American lager” effort for Bud.

This year’s lineup also will continue A-B’s penchant to entertain Super Bowl viewers with humor, twisted endings and animals.

The creative will encompass six 30-second spots and one 60-second commercial. Lead agency is DDB Chicago. The spots will proclaim beer benefits like refreshment, drinkability and super powers. One spot, which broke Sunday during the National Football League playoffs, shows how drinking Bud Light enables a man to talk to animals. Another features a woman with X-ray vision ogling a male construction worker. A third candidate demonstrates the mishaps that can occur with the gift of breathing fire. All told, A-B will run between 8-10 spots for its products.

According to A-B, the “Keeps it coming” work is flexible enough for a long run because the beer attributes and visuals in the first seven seconds can be changed to keep the campaign fresh. However, unlike previous years when Super Bowl spots were still airing during baseball season, this year’s crop of commercials will be gone when a third wave appears during March/April.

Also being considered is a “Great Lengths” Bud Light spot featuring the plight of cavemen trying to carry a beer cooler hewn from rock, Bud Light drinkers at a wine and cheese party, and the consequences of enticing a carpeting contractor for extra material with Bud Light. The 60-second slot features Hank, a Clydesdale that didn’t make the Budweiser hitch team. The horse takes on an unusual trainer to get in shape for the next season’s tryout.

Comedian Carlos Mencia will reprise his role from last year as an English-language instructor. In the new spot, via Latinworks, Austin, Texas, he’s in a bar teaching new Americans pick-up lines.

The Super Bowl plan also will go mobile with a secret video ad available for consumers who opt in by providing their cell phone numbers on Bud.com, BudLight.com and BudBowl.com. During the game, registered participants will rate the Bud and Bud Light ads with text messaging. Then they’ll be sent a code that will unlock the secret spot online. Last year’s secret spot, “Apologybot,” received sparse pre-game promotion, but this initiative will be advertised on the Web sites of Yahoo!, MSN.com, Comedy Central and The Onion, among others.

“We want to move the people from spectator to participant,” said Keith Levy, vp, brand management at Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis.

A-B said its Super Bowl XLI ads were viewed on the Web more than 30 million times. Post-game exposure could be greater this year thanks to video-sharing arrangements, at no cost to A-B, with a dozen major Web and social-networking sites including MySpace and Facebook.

The brewer has agreements with the major TV networks to be the exclusive beer advertiser for the big game through 2012. A-B spent the most among marketers on Super Bowl ads last year, almost $24 million, and also was the leading spender in 2006, $22.5 million, per TNS Media Intelligence. PepsiCo was second with $12 million and $10 million, respectively.

“The Super Bowl is not the ultimate stamp on our year,” said Bob Lachky, evp, global industry development and chief creative officer. “But we believe in this venue particularly in this era when you have to deal with all this media fragmentation and how people get their information. This is the one opportunity where people from all demographics congregate to not only watch the game but the ads.”