Beer, Wine & Spirits

Budweiser’s millennial Super Bowl play

Anheuser-Busch InBev is hoping drinking aged millennials will once again be #UpforWhatever when it comes to its 2015 Super Bowl ads.

To that end, the company is looking to a lost puppy, the Clydesdales, social media war rooms and the element of surprise to specifically capture the millennial consumers' attention.

"Millennials want an experience. They want to be surprised, they want to engage with their friends, and even brands, everywhere they are," said Alexander Lambrecht, vice president, Bud Light.

Source: Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch InBev will debut two commercial spots for the Budweiser brand and one for its Bud Light brand during Super Bowl XLIX.

"It's moving towards a different tone of voice," said Jorn Socquet, vice president, U.S. marketing at Anheuser-Busch. "It will be more young, it will be a little more fun-based. So you will definitely see an evolution."

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The company says the focus for one of its 60-second ads for the Budweiser brand will "highlight the brewing credentials for America's No. 1 full-flavored lager."

That's about all the company is revealing for now, saying it is keeping the specifics a surprise. But while it's holding back on details, it's not holding back its expectations.

"I can promise you that this is probably one of the most exciting things the brand has ever done," said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. "It's like nothing we've ever done before and it's going to really capture the national imagination and the national conversation when we reveal this surprise."

'Lost Dog'

Another ad for the Budweiser brand, titled "Lost Dog," will feature the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales and will "tell an emotional story and help a puppy who has lost his way learn the true meaning of friendship."

It's a formula the brand used to much success last year in a spot called "Puppy Love," which rated well across a variety of metrics.

"We basically won the Super Bowl. 'Puppy Love' was the number one spot pretty much across the board. We won the (USA Today) Ad Meter, it had the most retweeted alcoholic beverage tweet ever, and it had the most likes on a Facebook post ever from an advertiser," said Socquet.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev is looking for the Clydesdales to hit those high marks againand despite sitting out the company's 2014 holiday ad campaign, the legendary horses aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

"They are never going away, we're never getting rid of the Clydesdales. They are a part of who we are, and you don't abandon what makes you unique," said Perkins. "I reject the suggestion that Clydesales can't be relevant to millennials. They are an icon of the brand, a symbol of how we brew our beer and our values and our quality standard."

Bud Light's 'Coin'

In its only spot for the Bud Light brand, the company will be keeping the same marketing campaign it unveiled in last year's Super Bowl, which it kept throughout the past year: the "Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens."

The 60-second ad entitled, "Coin," features "an everyday Bud Light fan who experiences an unforgettable night with '80s iconic old school fun" as he is transported into a life-size, interactive Pac-Man game.

Source: Anheuser-Busch InBev

While the Super Bowl ads will get much of the attention, the company will look to keep the buzz going via social media "war rooms" that will monitor and interact with consumers on a variety of digital platforms.

'War rooms'

Socquet said engaging in real-time digitally will be a crucial element to reaching their target audience. In order to help make that happen, the company said it is giving its social media employees the ability to react quickly when it comes to brand management.

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"We brought the chain of command down to that group. They decide what happens and it doesn't need to go to senior people to decide something is on brand or off brand," said Socquet. "Because at the end of the day, in social media, the millennials are very forgiving. You can tweet or Facebook or Instagram something that may not necessarily resonate with them but they will forgive you."