Bud Light updates vintage ads in new social distancing spots

Dive Brief:

  • Bud Light debuted a new social media and sweepstakes campaign centered on reboots of the brand’s “Genius” ads, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive. 
  • In one of the new installments, Bud Light’s “Stay At Home Humans of Genius” gives a salute to the “indoor sports maker upper” who makes the best of staying home during the quarantine by making up fun sports with mundane household objects.
  • The AB InBev brand released the new spots on its YouTube and Instagram pages. Additional spots include: “Virtual Happy Hour,” “Creative Recipe Sharer,” “Balcony Sing-a-long” and “Air High Five Inventor.” Consumers are encouraged to share these videos and tag a friend with #stayhomesweeps to win free beer.

Dive Insight:

AB InBev has been resurrecting some of its classic commercials for brands like Budweiser and Bud Light, retrofitting them for the COVID-19 era in what could be an attempt to give consumers something comfortable to connect with at time when people are under a lot of stress. The new spots celebrate consumers who find creative ways to occupy themselves while staying at home in an effort to help keep themselves and others safe during the pandemic. The ads come at a time when the country is divided on the need for ongoing shutdowns even as medical professionals continue to emphasize the importance of staying at home to help reduce infections. 

The new ads for Bud Light give a fresh take on the “Real Men of Genius” campaign from the 1990s, and the updated “Internet Heroes of Genius” effort that launched last year. The company also recently rebooted Budweiser’s classic “Whassup” tagline for a new PSA collaboration with The Salvation Army that offers support to people in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The spot shows friends connecting on a video conference with the theme, “Staying connected matters now more than ever.”

Recycling media also enables the marketer to release new content even as many production studios remained closed and potentially reduces costs. That benefit from updating vintage content fits in line with a broader initiative to cut media spending recently announced by AB InBev during its Q1 earnings call, per a report by Ad Age. In April, the company saw a 32% drop in global sales volumes, driven by bar and restaurant closures. As a result, it is taking a look at sales and marketing and plans to shift investments into in-demand channels such as larger packs of beer and e-commerce options, while phasing out product innovations and activations. With much of the United States remaining closed, and sports events and concerts canceled for the foreseeable future, the beer company is also looking into renegotiating contracts with sports leagues.

AB InBev isn’t alone among large consumer packaged goods marketers in cutting back marketing spend — Molson Coors is doing the same — and reinvesting in areas like e-commerce, where it sees opportunities, a strategy PepsiCo is also embracing as the health crisis keeps people at home and buying habits shift online. 

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