A-B InBev Throws a Masquerade Party in Stylish First Ad for Oculto Lager

High-alcohol brew gets mysterious intro

Anheuser-Busch InBev introduces Oculto, a new high-alcohol lager, with a roomful of men and women wearing masks inside a dark club in this spot from Mother New York.

The mood is mysterious and reminiscent of the party scene in Eyes Wide Shut. Not much happens, but Oculto's ghoulish clear bottle appears prominently, and with good reason: It's a cool piece of marketing in and of itself. The eye sockets of the skull light up when the beer is chilled. (Another shop, Antista Fairclough, worked on the packaging.)

Beyond this initial online ad, which was directed by Prettybird's Melina Matsoukas and breaks Friday, the campaign includes events, social media marketing, outdoor and print ads, with a particular focus on the Miami market. The brand, which rolled out last month (on Friday the 13th, no less) is targeting 21- to 34-year-olds who are ambitious, free-sprited and "love the idea of a mashup," said Harris Rabin, vp of global marketing on new brands at A-B InBev.

Oculto represents a new category for A-B—a 6 percent alcohol beer that's infused with agave by being aged in barrels that are used to make tequila. The brewer's marketing leaders are bullish about its prospects, though they declined to share sales expectations.

"This is obviously a big priority for the company. The level of investment is consistent with other big bets that ABI has made," said John Steed, a marketing director at A-B InBev. Added Rabin: "For us, it's all about unlocking the potential of nights out—those really special nights out with friends."