A Super Bowl full of beer for Anheuser-Busch

No, the stadium isn’t going to be filled with screaming fans for Super Bowl XLII this Sunday. It’s going to be filled to the rim with beer. At least it will seem that way from the vantage point of viewers out there in TV land.  According to Advertising Age, it seems Anheuser-Busch is ponying up – yes, yes, we’ll get to the Clydesdales in a minute – a whole lot of moolah for nine television ads, seven of which are going to be for Bud Light.

Let’s see, with Fox reported to be charging between $2.7 and $3 million this year for a measly 30 seconds of advertising air time during this game to end all games, if A-B pops for the pricier rate but runs only 30-second spots, it’ll end up costing the venerable St. Louis brewery somewhere around $20 million. Drink up, folks, A-B’s gotta cut a rather large check payable to Fox, not to mention its ad agency.

Not that sports fans/beer drinkers are animals, but A-B has always leaned toward the planet’s fauna when running its Super Bowl ads. There were the frogs, there were the ferrets, there were the donkeys, and of course there were and are the Clydesdales. This year’s warm and fuzzy storylette about these magnificent equines involves a true-blue, never-say-die Clydesdale youn’un named Thunder, who is passed over for a coveted spot on the Clydesdale team. However, evincing that good-old American can-do spirit, Thunder decides to embark on a year of training, so as to win a spot on the team next year. It’s uplifting enough to make you pour beer on your Wheaties.

Storyboards aside, this year is a tech-lover’s delight, with ads viewable not only on the tube in living rooms across the globe but on desktops, laptops, mobile phones, and just about any other device that connects to the Internet.  And lest fans not have enough to amuse them (remember the game; there will be an actual, live football game being played), A-B is providing a Web site on which fans can choose their very fave Super Bowl XLII ad. Fans need only click on http://www.budbowl.com/ and exercise their guaranteed-by-the-Constitution-of-the-US-of-A right to vote. But wait, sports fans, Super Bowl football is in danger of becoming a secondary spectator sport. Secondary to the anticipating, watching, voting on, and blogging about its television ads. It’s hard to quantify just how much revenue these pricy ads bring in for advertisers. Come next July, are thirsty beer-seekers going to grab a six-pack of Bud Light because, Thunder, that determined little Clydesdale colt, comes to mind?  In true “show me the money” (not the game) fashion, A-B hopes so.

Barbara Murray began covering the food manufacturing industry for Hoover's in 2001 -- and she's been on a diet ever since. She suspects it's possible to gain weight by merely reading and writing about food. That's what she tells herself anyway.

Read more articles by Barbara Murray.


  1. Beer and Wheaties? Oh, please — how gauche! It’s bourbon and Wheaties for me every morning!

  2. Tony Rawells says:

    What about the LINGERIE BOWL? Screw the boring commercials, we always the Lingerie Bowl halftime.

  3. Anheuser-Busch should save those dollars they are spending on the super bowl and get underway on a new beer or at least a new look for their old cans. I’d like to see bud light come in a clear bottle like the horrible tasting bud ice. Screw advertising everyone already knows about Bud, except for your young children who are going to be transformed into alchoholics.

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