Bud Light Suits Up for 2012 NFL Season

Heavy TV spend marks second year of official sponsorship

Bud Light is kicking off the second year of its NFL sponsorship with a season-long campaign that focuses on the fan.  

The country’s top-selling beer will suit up for tonight’s season opener on NBC, introducing a pair of new 30-second spots celebrating what Anheuser-Busch InBev has dubbed the “Year of the Fan.”

The “Very Superstitious” ad tips its cap to the various rituals enacted by football fans in the name of helping spur their team on to victory. Over a snippet of Stevie Wonder’s classic 1972 Motown single, a 49ers enthusiast clutches a lucky rabbit’s foot, a Titans fan reverently taps the team’s logo and a Colts backer constructs a horseshoe out of cold cans of Bud Light.

The spot ends with the admonition, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” The familiar tagline introduced a year ago remains, punctuating the spot’s brief voiceover: “Bud Light, the official beer of fans who do whatever it takes. Here we go.”

The second spot (“My Bud Light”) encourages viewers to sign up for the beer brand’s fantasy football league.

Both commercials were produced by Translation, the creative agency that last month inherited the Bud Light account from mcgarrybowen.

Two more spots are expected to debut between now and the end of the 2012-13 NFL season. On average, Bud Light will buy two 30-second spots in every NFL broadcast, including NBC’s Sunday Night Football, ESPN’s Monday Night Football, and the CBS, Fox and NFL Network games.

Per SQAD data, a 30-second spot in the Fox late game last season cost $485,000, while the average unit cost in the CBS 4 p.m. broadcast was $420,000. Prime-time rates were $470,000 a pop on SNF and $325,000 on MNF.

The “Year of the Fan” campaign will culminate with Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. Bud Light will serve as the exclusive beer advertiser for the game, which is set to air Feb. 3 on CBS.

Bud Light’s six-year deal with the NFL is worth north of $1.2 billion and expires in 2016. Before unseating rival Coors Light as the official suds of the NFL, Bud Light had bragging rights from 1990-2001.

In addition to its blanket deal with the NFL, Bud Light has local sponsorship agreements in place with 28 of the league’s 32 franchises. Along with the TV spots, the brewer will roll out specially marked 12-packs packaged in a material that looks and feels like pebbled pigskin. The cans will feature the NFL shield, and units bearing the local team’s logo will be available in relevant markets.

“Our multitouch sponsorship will provide everything the NFL fan needs to have a stellar season,” said Mike Sundet, vp of Bud Light, by way of announcing the activation. “From in-store promotions and digital activations, to on-site activities and the return of Bud Light Hotel at Super Bowl XLVII, our goal is to make the excitement of the upcoming season even better.”

Anheuser-Busch in 2011 spent approximately $456.2 million on measured media, of which 66 percent, or $299.7 million, was devoted to sports. By comparison, MillerCoors spent less than half that amount, devoting $203 million to sports, or 56 percent of its overall media budget.