Anheuser-Busch to Showcase Marketing Campaign for NFL Season Kickoff

By Community | September 5, 2012

Anheuser-Busch, adiposity part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is introducing on Wednesday a new marketing campaign for its Bud Light brand, the official beer sponsor of the N.F.L. The campaign declares this to be the “Year of the Fan.”

The campaign is extensive, including a fantasy football promotion using codes on more than one billion bottles of beer; television commercials from Translation in New York, the new lead creative agency for the Bud Light brand; and covering the paper cartons for 12-packs of 12-ounce cans of Bud Light with a material that to some degree feels like a football.

Ads are also coming out for other major sponsors of the season, which begins on Wednesday. They include GMC trucks, New Era caps, Tide detergent,Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay snacks, Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker Oats.

This will be the second season that Bud Light, the nation’s best-selling beer brand, will be the official beer sponsor of the N.F.L. “We had a very successful Year 1,” said Mike Sundet, vice president for Bud Light at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, as evidenced by “a lot of brand health improvement.”

“Year 2 is all about making that even bigger and even better,” Mr. Sundet said, by “making sure we focus on the fans.”

“It’s not about being a corporate sponsor,” he added. “It’s about making the game more enjoyable for N.F.L. fans and Bud Light drinkers.”

The fantasy football aspect of the campaign is already under way, under the name Bud Light Fantasy Football League. A section of the Bud Light Web site,budlight.com, is devoted to the promotion, as is a commercial by Translation.

“Welcome to Bud Light fantasy football,” an announcer says, “where every bottle is a player.” Actors playing fans then describe how they are faring in the league, based on the codes on the beer bottle caps that they enter onbudlight.com/ffl.

“My Bud Light threw four touchdowns,” one happy fan says.

But not all bottles are winners, alas, as depicted by a morose fan who says, “My Bud Light fumbled at the three-yard line.”

Another new commercial by Translation is about fans rather than the Bud Light fantasy promotion. The spot, which features the Stevie Wonder song “Superstition,” shows the oddball and offbeat rituals that superstitious fans observe, like crossing their fingers, wearing different-colored socks, going barefoot and touching a banner as they enter a room.

The two Bud Light commercials will run during the game on Wednesday that kicks off the 2012-13 season, between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Bud Light will run spots on all the networks and channels that will present games during the season, Mr. Sundet said, including ESPN, CBS, Fox and NFL Network.

Other elements of the campaign include a Tickets for Life Sweepstakes, a promotion to encourage recycling and ads aimed at Hispanic consumers.