It demonstrates the how ineffective most Super Bowl ads are that Budweiser’s Shock Top beer ad could end up being the best of the night.
Before we get to the spot itself, there are inherent reasons why advertising during the TV event of the year rarely works out. One is that the cost of buying airtime is so high ($5 million for a 30-second spot) that I generally feel the money is best spent elsewhere.
But if you decide to do a Super Bowl ad, it should be about more than just raising awareness. And that’s the real problem. The companies financially able to afford a Super Bowl spot usually don’t have an awareness problem.
Secondly, and most importantly, ad agencies use Super Bowl spots to win awards, which is why the ads are produced strictly as entertainment. They often do very little to actually steal market share.
In fact, on Monday, when all of us (including possibly me) rate the night’s ads, we usually rate them based on their entertainment value. Not on how effective they are in increasing market share.
At least Shock Top has some meaning in its spot.
But here’s an interesting way to do it: Budweiser’s Shock Top beer ad. This is a beer brand that is not as well known as many of the other Budweiser brands, so its awareness is in need of raising. (Don’t fret. There will be plenty of Bud Lite ads aired during the game, I’m sure.) It is not, let’s say, Doritos who doesn’t have an awareness problem and whose Super Bowl ad is just a (somewhat lame) funny attempt at saying: Doritos are tasty.
No, most of us don’t know Shock Top beer. And the banter between comedian T.J. Miller and the Shock Top mascot is a personification of unfiltered talk for an unfiltered beer.
Budweiser will take that 1:25 spot and split it into 30-second spots for the Super Bowl, and I’ll admit that it’s pretty funny. (Check out Miller in the hilarious HBO comedy, Silicon Valley.)
The big three American lagers (Budweiser, Miller and Coors) have seen their market share eroded due to the rise of other offerings (wine, liquor, hard cider, etc.), especially microbrews.
Therefore, unfiltered by itself is not a switching trigger, but Shock Top has taken that product benefit and given it an emotional (and funny) meaning. It has at least followed through on its meaning, which is more than you will be able to say for most of the Super Bowl ads.
The Shock Top commercial may not be the best in class (I would have chosen another switching trigger and precept that exists in the market.) But, when watching the Super Bowl, count the number of ads you see whose message goes beyond the expected (such as that everybody, including a fetus, wants to have Doritos) and actually attempts a message.
You’ll be able to count on them with one hand.