Look, let’s not all get – as they would say – our panties in a wad. I’ve watched AB-InBev’s ‘anti-craft beer’ advert five times now, and it’s made me…laugh, five times. There’s simply no point in hammering out angry diatribes against it, about what it says when it implies craft beer drinkers are moustachioed dweebs sharing tasting flights of pumpkin peach ale.
This is not a statement that big beer is worried about craft beer any more than Kim Kardashian’s plea to use up the full extent of your data allowance was altruistic. Superbowl adverts have one over-riding aim – that they are funny. This then makes people talk the next day, gets them noticed, etc. Do you seriously think nobody at AB-InBev head office realised one of their recently-acquired breweries actually makes a pumpkin peach ale?
The Budweiser advert is in the same grand American style that parodies the intelligent at every opportunity, that leads to characters in TV series like Saved by the Bell, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, New Girl and the like. Yes – I am actually about to write these words – the Budweiser Super Bowl Ad was satire.
This is the Superbowl – it is what it is. I’ve watched every one since 1986. It’s for fans (and players) like Gronk here, celebrating the Patriots win in style (and with a Busch Light, ironically, brewed by…)
— Brad of the Almanac (@bradleysalmanac) February 4, 2015
According to NBC, the average cost of a thirty second advert during last weekend’s big game was $4.5m – but companies like Ab-InBev that took out multiple spots would have got some kind of deal, rather than forking out multiples of $9m, $13.5m, $18m or whatever. The exact amount each advertiser pays as part of these deals is not disclosed, but the network always release the ‘price per 30secs’ figure as it has a cachet – with three sharing the rights to the Super Bowl on an annual rotation basis, announcing the $4.5m figure is NBC sticking two fingers of importance up at CBS and Fox.
AB-InBev didn’t only use Budweiser to deliberately anger the hipsterati – that particular ad was down the running order, literally, when compared to their more prevalent Bud ad, featuring the latest adventure of the puppy and the Clydesdales (I need to take a minute, there’s, er, something in my eye). And even that wasn’t their biggest spend of the evening, as they took out ninety seconds to advertise Bud Light in a way that has 80’s gamers up in arms, just as much as the craft beer fans. Except it hasn’t.
If you total up the spots for Budweiser and Bud Light, then AB-InBev – who had also acquired sole beer sponsorship rights for the event – totalled 210 seconds of advertising. With NBC’s bulk-buy discount, they may not have paid the full whack of $31.5m, but in buying up that much TV space they clearly spent a staggering amount. And you know what? If you want something to focus your craft beer ire on – then focus it on that. Forget about the fact that an Ad agency picked on guys sharing thirds, and think about the bigger picture, which is this:
Ab-InBev committed this heinous grievance against the beer geek generation whilst dropping the amount of loose change that could pay for another craft brewery. Their 2015 Super Bowl spend would have been somewhere between the $24m they paid for Blue Point Brewing and the $38.8m they put up for Goose Island. Only, it was an equivalent sum for less than four minutes of advertising. If they really are flustered by the craft beer upstarts, and are feeling the heat of all those pumpkin peach ales, then once they really open the warchest, you might have genuine concerns to be angered over.