I’m going to level with you. I am not a sports fan. I usually watch sports for the food and beer, but this Sunday is different, it’s the Superbowl which means in between jalapeno poppers and the actual game are the ads. And the Superbowl is well…the Superbowl for advertisers. Brands bring their A game for a whole ‘lotta eyeballs. Last year, brands got political. Advertisers like Audi, Budweiser, Airbnb, and 84 Lumber made statements of acceptance, equality, and empathy during a time marked by hateful rhetoric and xenophobia. One of my favorite spots was by Budweiser showing the long and arduous journey of the founder from Germany to America. This spot conveyed the strength and determination of immigrants, subtly defying the new president’s efforts to demonize them.
A lot has happened since the last Superbowl, we’ve seen protests, investigations, social movements, and natural disasters. Are we going to see brands acknowledging and taking a stand on these topics? Budweiser was one of the first the release their spot online and it seems to continue the theme of communicating their company’s values in a timely way. The commercial documents their response to the series of hurricanes in places like Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. We follow Kevin Fahrenkrog, the General Manager of Anheuser-Busch’s Catersville, Georgia brewery through their relief efforts – switching the operations over to fill cans with water for victims of natural disasters. What a lot of people don’t know, and wouldn’t know from this spot alone, is that this Georgia brewery has delivered water to areas that need it for over 30 years. During this time marked by division, fear, and disaster, Budweiser reminds us that there is an innate desire to help those in danger.
The rest of the released ads take on a comical tone. I could see a room of ad execs suggesting we need a little escape from the scary world outside. I can’t say I blame them, but I see a missed opportunity to take a stand and reinforce values that people are fighting to uphold. It will be interesting to see if any other brands follow Budweiser’s lead. I’ll be filling the time by “watching” football until I can find out.