By Barry Janoff
January 18, 2017: A recent Harris Poll showed that among people self-described as "regular drinkers," beer was the adult beverage that first came to mind for 75% when thinking of football.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is bringing in its heavy hitters at Super Bowl LI to make certain that those numbers stay strong.
The beer maker said it would have four spots of least three full minutes of ads during the game on Feb. 5, "complemented by a robust digital strategy."
The roster includes Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Busch, the latter making its first Super Bowl appearance.
Thirty-second spots on Fox have gone for upward of $5 million, according to industry analysts, although brands with multiple spots or are long-time sponsors fare much better.
Anheuser-Busch has been the exclusive national broadcast partner in the beer category for 28 years.
The brewer and the NFL in 2015 extended their alliance making Bud Light the official beer sponsor for the league via a six-year deal that industry analysts valued at $1.4 billion. Set to expire following Super Bowl LI in 2017, it now runs through Super Bowl LVI in 2022.
Budweiser has had ad in the Super Bowl since 1975 and Bud Light ads have appeared "for more than 30 years," according to Anheuser-Busch.
Bud Light also is officially aligned with 28 of NFL's 32 teams.
"The Super Bowl has become one of those increasingly rare cultural moments in time when consumers anticipate and talk about the commercials as much as the event itself," Marcel Marcondes, vp-marketing for Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement.
"For Super Bowl 51, we are not just creating ads for the game, but kicking off strategic creative campaigns for the year. For that reason, we're debuting new work that we believe will resonate before, during and long after game day."
Anheuser-Busch In Bev was the leading advertiser during Super Bowl 50 2016 with expenditures of $33.6 million.
Anheuser-Busch has placed in the top two of the annual rankings for at least 35 consecutive years and has invested more than $520 million in the game (not adjusted for inflation) during this period, according to research and consulting firm Kantar Media, NY.
The brand holds the official beer sponsorship for the NFL through 2022.
Anheuser-Busch was followed in Super Bowl 50 ad spend by Fiat Chrysler ($19,2 million), PepsiCo (19.2 million, which includes Doritos, Frito-Lay and Pepsi), Germany-based Deutsche Telekom ($14.4 million), Honda ($14.4 million), Toyota ($14.4 million) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals ($14.4 million), per Kantar.
Creative details for specific spots were not shared. Anheuser-Busch said that several of its commercials and campaigns would be released on digital platforms prior to the Fox broadcast on Feb. 5.
Among details that were released, Bud Light will air a 60-second Super Bowl spot "as part of a larger campaign tied to Bud Light's role in building friendships over beers." The campaign, with the just unveiled tagline, "Famous Among Friends," is via lead agency Wieden + Kennedy New York.
Anheuser-Busch last month unveiled a "Willy Wonka" type promotion, putting a gold can in select 12-packs of Bud Light for the opportunity to win tickets to attend the Super Bowl each year for the rest of their life (up to 51 years).
Budweiser, which has aired 101 commercials during Super Bowl games, "will draw inspiration from the story of its founder, Adolphus Busch, to celebrate the brand's enduring ambition and hustle in pursuit of the American dream." The brand said that its iconic Clydesdales would make a brief appearance in the spot. Lead agency is Anomaly.
Michelob Ultra will appear in its second consecutive Super Bowl (and fourth overall: 2003, 2006) with a 30-second spot that continues the brand's tag, "Brewed for Those Who Go the Extra Mile." Lead agency is FCB Chicago.
Super Bowl first-timer Busch will run a spot intended to “introduce itself to a new generation of beer drinkers, drawing on decades of equity as a brand that stays true to its name." Lead agency is Deutsch.
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