With a British accent and wee bit of sass Budweiser takes a classy stand against drunk driving. The highly discussed ad starring Helen Mirren featured lots of subtle themes and messages beyond the humor. With nothing but Helen Mirren and an empty low lit restaurant, Budweiser hooked viewers with class and sophistication. Seemingly setting their brew apart from the binge drinking the cheaper counterpart Bud Light has promoted for years. The setting of the ad itself is cool, and collected, making it reasonable to assume the American brewery is trying to expand their market from a popular party beer to a more relaxed beer to drink for its own sake. With Dame Helen Mirren’s insults and her British “pinky’s up” persona it was the perfect mix of humor and sophistication and the message was even more important then the visuals.
Budweiser successfully emphasized their stand against drunk driving by announcing their #giveadamn campaign, saying each time the hashtag is used they will donate $1 to safe ride programs. This is a very proactive campaign in a time where there are so many distractions on the road and drinking and driving has become such a serious issue as it pertains to our youth. I think a stance against drinking and driving in this manner is also a smart way of separating yourself from the classic “binge drinking beers”. One might be able to assume this is Budweiser’s attempt at moving into a higher class of beer.
The advertisement in all of its sophistication didn’t attract as much of the normal positive buzz Budweiser usually is able to accrue. Many found the ad boring and “against Budweiser’s conventional ad campaign”. This year wasn’t all puppies and clydesdales and that left some unsatisfied. As far as Super Bowl commercial greats go Budweiser claims the top of the food chain and the low budget work they released this year was not what viewers were looking for. Interesting to see if whether the low budget production was out of necessity or an attempt to wane out of the main stream and try to come into a higher echelon of beer among beer by asserting themselves in a highly competitive market of high class beers such as Heineken, New Castle, and Stella Artois, which put out very little if any advertisement in the latest Super Bowl string of commercials.
Ultimately Budweiser was taking a bit of a risk with going out of their MO and finding a new way to promote their brand. It will be interesting to see where they go from here with this new wave of “give a damn” commercials. In a go for broke attempt I believe those who criticized Budweiser were wrong, the ad, though simple, was very well put together and smart. With the power of comedy and Helen Mirren they were able to create a sophisticated and smart atmosphere for viewers while they spoke up against drunk driving, Budweiser was able to produce a simple yet successful promotion of their beer and able to continue their streak of successful commercials.