Super Bowl Slainte – and Super Dud

The brewing industry toasted beer lovers on Super Bowl Sunday with a new television ad to promote beer’s image. The ad celebrates beer’s global popularity and directs consumers to a new beer-themed web site, .

The new ad and web site were developed by Anheuser-Busch and are supported by the Beer Institute. A-B donated 30 seconds of its highly coveted advertising time during this Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast to air the “Here’s To Beer” ad called “Slainte.”

Oddly enough however, was the childish and unsophisticated nature of the A-B ads during the game. A new ad featuring a slapstick take-off of young adults playing “tag” football and another ad rolled out by A-B prior to the Super Bowl featured two adults males being chased by a bear. Industry analysts – and the large brewers themselves – have noted in the last year that the major brands needs to contemporize their image to compete with the growing interest in wine and spirits. Yet A-B continues to develop ads that may have a bit of humor attached to them, but miss the mark significantly in appealing to a broader audience.

Which is why the major brands are flat and craft and imports are growing.

The Super Bowl is a super opportunity to broaden the consumers interest in beer. It is a rare event that garners the attention and viewing of an extremely broad demographic. It is perhaps the one sports event that is viewed by equal parts hardcore football fans and non-sports enthusiast.

In an era where major brand beer is losing both ends of the spectrum- both young adults in their 20’s and the more moderate drinkers in their 40’s and 50’s, the big brewers have interestingly admitted that major brand beer doesn’t have the excitement, sizzle or interest that the new age of spirits and wine does. Consumers are looking for new things, more flavor and more authenticity. Both craft beer and imports deliver in this paradigm shift. Major brands need to promote flavor, value, ingredients and deliver a reason to buy – beyond the image of cute women and hapless frat boys.

Instead, A-B delivers an ad of a guy tackling a women and two guys running away scared from a bear.

Good luck. And what did you say your sales were last year St. Louis? After watching the A-B “Super Dud” ads, my bets are 2006 won’t be much better.