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Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercial leans on humor after a year of turmoil and controversy

by Chanel Rowe
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Originally Published: 06 FEB 24 08:15 ET

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN

New York (CNN) — Bud Light is back at the Super Bowl, this time with a funny “genie” to grant drinkers’ wishes. The beleaguered beer brand could have used a few miracles itself after one of its rockiest years ever.

The 60-second spot, called “Easy Night Out,” is part of Bud Light’s year-long rebrand that debuted at last year’s Super Bowl. This year’s goofy ad features a “new character in the Bud Light universe,” a Bud Light-drinking “genie” who grants wishes to drinkers on a wild night out, the brand announced Tuesday.

Bud Light sales tumbled over the past year after a conservative-media-led backlash to a sponsored social media post featuring a transgender influencer. The brand has been in crisis mode ever since, and the Super Bowl commercial is part of its effort to turn around perception.

“We wanted to get back to the humor the brand has been known for,” Bud Light’s vice president Todd Allen told CNN. “Consumers are expecting us to bring a little bit of light-heartedness and irreverence back, so we listened and that’s what we’re bringing forward.”

The ad also features other celebrities that the brand already had been featuring, including musician Post Malone (who helped launch Bud Light Seltzer in a previous Super Bowl ad), former NFL star Peyton Manning, and, for the first time, Dana White, the CEO of UFC, with which the beer maker recently signed a reported record-breaking sponsorship.

Bud Light launched its new campaign — “Easy to Drink. Easy to Enjoy” — at last year’s Super Bowl with a buzzy ad featuring actor Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh in hopes of reviving the beer’s sales that were already slumping against its rivals.

But a one-off sponsored Instagram post with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney last April garnered negative attention from right-wing media figures, then caught anger from the left for the company’s response and derailed the brand’s attempt at marking a “new era” for itself.

Parent company Anheuser-Busch reshuffled the executives overseeing Bud Light, with Allen taking over for Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light’s former vice president of marketing, who was placed on leave after less than a year in the position.

For him, it’s “always been a dream” of his to work on Bud Light, but with sales still down 30% year over year, it’s an indication that Bud Light’s hard pivot toward male-skewing interests isn’t entirely working.

Allen said that Bud Light is still the number one in volume shipped to bars, restaurants and stadiums, despite it losing its top spot in off-premises (grocery and beer stores) sales to Modelo and facing tighter competition from Miller Lite and Coors Light.

“All the actions we’ve taken are significantly improving favorability with all of our drinkers,” Allen said. “We’re continuing to move forward and we couldn’t be more excited.”

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Bud Light Commercial

**This image is for use with this specific article only** Bud Light hopes this “genie” in its Super Bowl ad works miracles for the brand.

Courtesy Bud Light

06 Feb 24

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