Like most people, I like to sneak a peek at any Super Bowl commercials that are available before the big game, and this year Budweiser has at least two that I've seen. One features the always-perfect Helen Mirren delivering what Michael d'Estries calls an "excellent one-minute spot that will hopefully get people to think twice before driving home after the game intoxicated." It's sophisticated, low-key and important.
Then, there's this other 1-minute Budweiser commercial that's in-you-face and has something to say about Budweiser's relationship to craft beer — without ever mentioning it at all.
By pointing out the things Budweiser is not, the commercial not-so-subtly implies that craft beer is the opposite. Craft beer makers frequently do the same thing when talking about how the beer is made and what is (or what isn't) in it.
This commercial comes on the heels of the 2015 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial that made craft beer lovers roll their eyes. That ad took a shot at craft beer drinkers, and many were offended by it. (I think many of them might feel the same about this ad!)
But as a craft beer drinker, my feelings aren't hurt. These commercials are created to be shown during the most expensive television advertising slot of the year. They're supposed to be big and in-your-face. They're supposed to get a rise out of people.
This year's ad is meant to unite Bud drinkers with its "Budweiser is not for everyone" message and make them feel like they're part of an elite group of beer drinkers — something many craft beer drinkers tend to believe about themselves.
It seems to me like Budweiser is taking a page from craft beer's marketing playbook. It manages to separate itself from craft beer while also tapping that "only those in the know" exclusiveness that craft beer has owned up to this point. As far as clever commercials go, this is an effective one.
I'll still be bringing a growler of my favorite local beer to the Super Bowl party on Sunday, but when this commercial comes on, I won't be offended and I won't feel inferior.