Bud Light Says Trolling Competitors Increased Transparency and Interest in Beer Ingredients

Related Google searches shot up after Super Bowl spot

Search volume for 'corn syrup' and 'corn syrup in beer' skyrocketed after Bud Light's savage Super Bowl ad. Bud Light
Headshot of Katie Richards

Bud Light had a big Super Bowl this year, running four spots, including one epic ad with HBO’s Game of Thrones. While the brand’s surprising partnership won the night, Bud Light says its trolling strategy with “Special Delivery,” a 60-second ad that shamed Coors Light and Miller Lite for using corn syrup, is the one the brand is most excited about.

It was all part of Bud Light’s new campaign celebrating ingredient transparency. A few weeks before the Super Bowl, Bud Light announced ingredient labels would soon be on all of its packaging. While the Super Bowl ad caused a stir in the beer world, with competitors and even the National Corn Growers Association responding negatively to the campaign, Bud Light’s vp of marketing, Andy Goeler is calling the ad a major success.

“Special Delivery” sparked a serious uptick in Google search volume around key terms including corn syrup and beer ingredients. According to Google Trends, search volume for “corn syrup” rose 353 percent, and “corn syrup in beer” rose 9,612 percent after Bud Light’s ad aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

“What we set out to do was to create attention and conversation around ingredients in beers,” Goeler said. “We went to the Super Bowl and used that platform to communicate to consumers in a fun, Bud Light way that our beer is made with barley, hops, water and rice, and that some of the other beers in the industry that don’t provide transparency are made with things like corn syrup.”

Additionally, 777 percent more people were searching for Bud Light ingredients on Google, as well as for Miller Lite and Coors Light ingredients (1,833 percent and 1,375 percent, respectively).

For Goeler, though, the major win wasn’t in search volume.

“Miller and Coors had ingredients on their website, but it was very challenging to find,” Goeler said. “A few days after the Super Bowl they moved it way up to the front, and now it’s a lot easier for consumers to have access to those ingredients. That’s what we want. It lets people compare what goes into the beer and what doesn’t go into the beer.”

Goeler added, “As the lead brand in the industry, I’m extremely proud that we are taking the lead and bringing ingredient transparency into the beer industry.”

In response to Bud Light’s statement, a spokesperson for MillerCoors told Adweek: “Is Bud Light in business to get Google searches or to sell beer? There isn’t another company in the world that would spend $20 million on ads in one night, see a reduction in sales and call it a success, but that’s exactly what Bud Light is doing. They launched this campaign because Miller Lite and Coors Light have been taking segment share from Bud Light for years. So three weeks later while ABI is still shifting their focus from denigrating American farmers’ crops to bringing transparency to the industry, we’re going to keep focusing on selling some great American beers.”

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.