Budweiser Wisely Pivots Away from Beer Cans

The bruised brand’s Super Bowl LVIII commercials bring in barrels and bottles, the Clydesdales, and a Labrador to sway core consumers.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

February 14, 2024

2 Min Read

At a Glance

  • The beer can was conspicuous in its absence in the Anheuser-Busch InBev ads during the Big Game
  • Old School ad taps the positive emotion of the Clydesdale horses ... and on-premise packaging
  • "He hates these cans!" The Jerk, 1979

A Budweiser commercial without a can of beer in sight? Yep. After last year’s debacle with a promotional can printed with transgender spokesperson Dylan Mulvaney’s face that cost the company billions in lost sales, brand owner Anheuser-Busch InBev shied away from cans for Super Bowl LVIII.

The brewer had two ads during the big game: one for Bud Light and one for Budweiser.

The Bud Light commercial briefly showed a refrigerator full of glass bottles of Bud Light before a genie appears to make beer-drinkers’ dreams come true.

To be honest, after the hullaballoo about the Dylan Mulvaney episode, I thought social media reactions would be mixed, if not brutal. What we got was … crickets. But the feed was flooded with football fans trying to win the Bud Light Giveaway and there were lots of cans pictured in the posts. Here are a couple examples:

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Truth: People love animals, like dogs and Clydesdales.

For the Budweiser brand, Anheuser-Busch InBev went “Old School” for Super Bowl LVIII.

This 1-minute commercial tells the story of how a small-town American bar is running low of Budweiser, and a snowstorm threatens its regular delivery (by truck, I’m assuming). Thankfully, the Clydesdale horses are ready to step in, and the delivery team loads barrels of beer on a horse-drawn wagon. Tension runs high when visibility becomes so bad even the animals can’t see or sense the road. But, wait, up ahead … is that the dog from the bar? It is! Saved!

Kegs roll into the bar and a party ensues.

Who doesn’t love the Clydesdales and labradors? No one, it seems. (Or puppies! Isn’t video of the Puppy Bowl XX just the cutest? But I digress.) Fans gushed about the Budweiser ad on social media, with one saying the commercial was “The winner of the game!”

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Overall, the Bud brands redeemed themselves, earning two of the three top beer ads spots from Super Bowl LVIII:

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Will it drive sales though? According to a 2024 Super Bowl advertising study from behavioral research company Veylinx, Super Bowl commercials do boost consumer demand for the products advertised.

I do feel sorry for the ignored beer can, though. What’s a disgraced package gotta do to get out of the dog house with beer drinkers?

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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