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Budweiser’s Super Bowl Beer Ad Isn’t about Beer

This article has been updated since 1/26.

With 30-second Super Bowl ads going at more than $5 million this year, Anheuser-Busch is investing a big chunk of its advertising budget by buying a total of four minutes of ads during the big game (up from three minutes last year). While the company is well-known for its iconic Budweiser Super Bowl ads, this year’s Bud spots will showcase the unexpected: they feature the brewing giant’s sustainability efforts.


A Beer Ad about…Water?

Anheuser-Busch currently produces canned drinking water at its Cartersville, GA, brewery, and ships them to communities in need. This year, the company shipped nearly three million cans of emergency drinking water to areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and by the California wildfires. In total, the company says it has provided over 79 million cans of drinking water to communities in need. The Super Bowl ad tells the story of its employees in the Cartersville plant who produce the emergency drinking water. The commercial takes viewers inside the brewery and features the general manager of the brewery, along with more than 20 of his local colleagues.

Stella Artois, a beer brewed by Interbrew International, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, will also be running a Super Bowl ad focused on environmental responsibility. The Stella Artois ad, in partnership with Water.org, is meant as a call to action for beer lovers to help end the global water crisis.

Was the shift in focus a tough decision to make? “The Super Bowl is a huge moment for our company and for our country,” Katja Zastrow, Anheuser-Busch’s VP for a Better World, told Environmental Leader. “This is the first time we are devoting two commercials – for Budweiser and Stella Artois –  to our Better World initiatives and our commitment to improving the communities where we work, live and play. These programs – and the communities affected – are so important to us as a company that this year we’re also boosting our emergency water production capability. We’re making these investments because we know that together we can make a real impact, both in ending the global water crisis, and more quickly getting emergency drinking water to communities hit by natural disaster.”


Why Water?

Water is a critical ingredient in the company’s products, and water management has become a critical part of its production processes. Understanding that brewers can’t actually brew beer if they don’t have quality water, Anheuser-Busch has implemented and evolved a water stewardship and environmental protection program across all of its breweries.

The effort includes engaging employees and strategic partners to implement ways to conserve water. With this commitment, Anheuser-Busch says that it has reduced water use across all US breweries by nearly 50% in the last 10 years. The company says it also works with farmers and suppliers to improve sustainability and water management.

The Budweiser Super Bowl ad can be viewed here.

Anheuser-Busch is also running ads for Bud Light and Michelob ULTRA.

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