Anheuser-Busch aims for big splash on first Super Bowl after InBev takeover

By Jeremiah McWilliams

Anheuser-Busch, the new subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be going big in the February broadcast of the Super Bowl. As reported previously by Lager Heads, the company has purchased ten 30-second slots. The St. Louis brewer is again the exclusive beer sponsor of the broadcast.

Anheuser-Busch was bought last week by Belgian brewer InBev, a famously cost-conscious company. Advertising agencies, drinkers and A-B employees wonder what will happen to A-B’s famed marketing prowess and spending as InBev tries to pay off the $52 billion deal. With that scrutiny in mind, Anheuser-Busch marketers are trying not to miss a beat on a broadcast that could attract 100 million viewers.

Acknowledging that Anheuser-Busch is “in a little bit of a transition right now,” Bob Lachky said the company was aiming to make a big statement with three commercials featuring the iconic Clydesdale horses. Lachky, Anheuser-Busch’s chief creative officer, told Lager Heads that the company’s advertisements on the big game will speak to its heritage, values and commitment to quality.

The Super Bowl ”really kicks off our selling season,” Lachky said. ”There’s no better way to motivate our selling system.”

We watched the taping of one spot on a Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California last week. The set was arranged to evoke an early 1900s harbor-side street in New York. The commercial being taped was a fable, meant to tell the “story” of how one Clydesdale came to America. (Fresh off the boat with other immigrants, apparently). The horse tries and fails to find an occupation that fits — race horse, carriage puller, piano mover — until finding his calling. A-B executives have high hopes for the humorous spot.

Lager Heads will be churning out more coverage of Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl plans in the next few weeks. Don’t touch that dial!