A-B Uses the Super Bowl to Refresh Bud Light

New campaign from BBDO replaces 'Here we go'

The long-awaited repositioning of Bud Light is nearly here—and parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev will use the most-watched program on television to roll it out.

Three new Bud Light ads will air during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 and introduce the tagline, "The perfect beer for whatever happens," according to A-B. The commercials are among five that the brewer will unveil during the big game; the other two are for Budweiser. All told, A-B purchased three and a half minutes of time on the game.

The first Bud Light ad, a 30-second spot called "So Cool" from longtime roster shop Cannonball, will air during the first commercial break of the first quarter and center around a new reclosable aluminum bottle. That execution also will debut a new song from a well-known artist that A-B has yet to identify.

BBDO produced the other two ads, a :30 and a :60. Together, those executions will tell a story of an "epic night" and feature a bevy of celebrities that again, A-B has yet to reveal. Also, the brewer is still deciding what quarter those ads will appear in.

"The perfect beer" campaign succeeds "Here we go," which began in 2010 and spanned several agencies, including DDB, mcgarrybowen and Translation. BBDO landed lead responsibilities on Bud Light in June, and the new effort represents a chance for the agency to put its stamp on an iconic American brand.

The stakes are high, as Bud Light is A-B InBev's largest brand and still the best-selling beer in the U.S., though its market share has declined in recent years. "The perfect beer" also is the swan song for U.S. marketing chief Paul Chibe, who joined A-B in 2011 and is leaving in February. Jorn Socquet, an A-B marketing leader in Canada, is replacing him.

In an interview with Adweek, Chibe described Bud Light's new direction as still funny—in keeping with the brand's history of humorous ads, particularly on the Super Bowl—but in a more aspirational way. The new positioning stems from nearly a year of research into millennials, added Rob McCarthy, a vp for Bud Light in the U.S.

"Think about the sense of optimism that many millennials have in terms of looking forward to future, the fact that they're open to possibilities and that they're truly open to whatever happens," explained McCarthy.

In contrast to Bud Light, the Bud ads—from lead agency Anomaly—will take a more emotional approach. One will tell the next chapter in the "Brotherhood" story that the brewer used in last year's game. The previous ad showed the bond between a Clydesdale and its trainer; the new ad depicts the Clydesdale bonding with a puppy, said Budweiser vp Brian Perkins. Like last year, the new ad, "Puppy Love," is directed by Jake Scott.

The other Bud ad, "Hero's Welcome," will celebrate the return home of soldiers serving overseas, Perkins said. The Malloys (aka brothers Brendan and Emmett Malloy) are directing that execution.

The game placement—and the length—of the two Bud-branded commercials also hasn't been finalized. But one will last 30 seconds and the other, 60 seconds, according to Perkins.