‘The ad Bud Light needed to make’: Sports-focused ad achieves ‘exceptional’ score for short-term sales

The ad has the potential to kick-start sales for the AB InBev-owned beer brand following the backlash it received after partnering with transgender model Dylan Mulvaney.

Bud Light’s decision to refocus on sport in its latest ad could help to “draw a line under” the controversy it has faced in recent months and drive short-term sales, according to analysis.

The ‘Easy to Sunday’ ad was released last week to coincide with the beginning of the National Football League (NFL) season in the US. Its release comes as Bud Light attempts to rebuild its reputation among its core consumers, after the backlash surrounding its brief partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

The ad depicts sports fans on NFL game days, gearing up for and enjoying matches with a Bud Light. It features real NFL fans from across the US and their rituals.

Bud Light is a brand closely associated with sport; it is the official beer sponsor of the NFL, and has official affiliations with competitions in other sports like ice hockey, boxing and football.

Back in May, chief executive of parent company AB InBev, Michel Doukeris, identified a “focus on sport” as a strategy for the brand to reconnect with consumers after the fallout from the boycott.

The execution of this strategy in the Easy to Sunday ad could help Bud Light to turn a new page, according to analysis by System1, shared exclusively with Marketing Week.

It’s the ad Bud Light needed to make – helping to draw a line under the issue and reintroducing the brand to ordinary consumer.

Jon Evans, System1

System1’s ad rating platform tests ads for their long-term brand-building and short-term sales growth potential, which it assesses based on the emotional reactions of viewers. It also tests the strength of branding in ads.

Bud Light’s Easy like Sunday ad only achieves “modest” long-term brand-building potential, scoring 2.7 out of 5.9 stars. However, its short-term sales-driving potential is “exceptional”, according to the analysis.

In August, AB InBev reported a 14.1% drop in sales volumes of its beers in the US during its second quarter, driven by the impact of the Bud Light controversy. Therefore, this ad with its “exceptional” potential to drive short-term sales is much needed for the brand at this time.

Bud Light’s ad backlash shows the complexity of mass marketing

The ad also achieves an exceptional score for brand fluency, according to System1’s analysis, meaning consumers can quickly and accurately identify the brand from the ad.

System1 chief customer officer Jon Evans says the Easy to Sunday ad could help Bud Light move on from the controversy that has hampered its sales for months.

“It’s the ad Bud Light needed to make – helping to draw a line under the issue and reintroducing the brand to ordinary consumers,” he says.

He notes that System1 did find a minority of audiences “from both sides of the debate” were still angry at the brand, either for the original video featuring Mulvaney or for the way the company handled the backlash. However, just one in 10 people felt negatively towards the ad.

The Easy to Sunday ad forms part of Bud Light’s ‘Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy’ platform.