Lately I have been watching a lot of European football (soccer) on American TV channels, and one commercial in particular has stood out to me. Amazingly it’s the most recent 30 second Budweiser commercial. Now I am by no means a fan of their main beer brands, but there are a few things about this commercial that thrill and excite me. Watch the commercial, and then read on to see why I deemed it worthy of analysis.
First of all, I should point out that this commercial has many similarities to the 2016 Super Bowl commercial. Not that that changes my analysis, but it should be noted. Secondly, while I believe that this is a clever commercial that has the power to trick the viewer into thinking that Budweiser is actually a worthy beer, I would like to iterate that it is not a worthy beer. Now on to the actual commercial.
Some of the things that immediately jumped out at me were the undertones of a “macro versus micro” beer battle, and the catchy background music. To me, the inclusion of the beer battle simply reinforces the impression that Budweiser is still feeling the heat from craft beer sales.
In the past couple of years, Budweiser has explicitly gone after the craft beer market in some of their commercials, announcing that their beer is made to be drunk, not admired or dissected, and that— “Hey! What the heck is that? Is that an apricot hefeweizen? Is that even real beer?”
In this commercial though, they remove those more obvious comparisons (probably because it wasn’t improving their market share) and instead rely on more subtle jabs towards the differences between a Budweiser and a “fancy” craft beer. This more nuanced approach means putting forth the impression that even though this is a basic beer, this is a basic beer that is not “overdone”, and represents “hard work, no frills, and hard nosed determination.” This gives the viewer the implied message that other beers are obviously overdone, and represent laziness, decadence, and weakness. Of course, this completely ignores the fact that most craft breweries arguably have to work harder than Budweiser to get their operations up and running, their beers stocked in liquor stores, and their brand proliferated. Oh, and if Budweiser is “not overdone”, then I’m glad that craft breweries take the time to create those “overdone” beers that actually have good flavours.
The music I found interesting because even though it is a style of music that I would normally never listen to or enjoy, it has a certain hypnotic pulse and tone to it that really draws me in and captivates me. I tried to listen to the full version of the song, but hearing the word “nigga” 19 times in under 3 minutes was too much for me. Regardless of the connotations of the word, and the relative merits of “taking back words”, to me it represents a real low in creativity (which reminds me of that internet meme comparing Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls) and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody). However, 30 seconds of this song without vocals shows savvy advertising if it hooks in someone of my different musical tastes. For those of you who are interested, the song is Day Ones by Baauer.
The images of burgers grilling and people eating are pretty standard in many beer commercials, and in this case there’s nothing extra special about them other than the particular tag lines associated with each scene that I have already discussed above.
The final scene with the horses running is also of note, because even though Budweiser often features Clydesdale horses in their commercials, this particular scene feels special to me. The darkness and the pounding of the hooves in conjunction with the music gives it a gothic romance sort of vibe that leaves me wanting more as the commercial ends. I wish the galloping horses scene went on for another 10 seconds!
In short, I will never forget that Budweiser tastes like watered down garbage, but for a brief 30 seconds, this clever commercial almost has me fooled into craving a nice cold Bud.