Bud Light goes back to its sporty roots

Months after a consumer boycott that lost Bud Light the status as America’s top-selling beer to Modelo, the beer brand has chosen the Super Bowl as the next stop of its comeback tour

Driving the news: Per The Wall Street Journal, Bud Light is banking on a 60-second Super Bowl ad slot to get back in with the guys. The brand is attempting to recover from backlash for its campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which led to a slump in sales. 

  • Bud Light sales in the first two weeks of 2024 were down 28.9% from the same period last year, while Modelo’s was up 15.1% according to an analysis of NIQ data.

  • The ad will trend back to the brand’s male-dominated roots, featuring the singer Post Malone, UFC CEO Dana White, and Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.

Catch up: After the boycotts, Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch fired Bud Light’s VP of Marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid. She’d been trying to usher in a “new era” for the brand, moving away from the tone of campaigns she once described as "fratty” and “out of touch.” 

  • Under her leadership, Bud Light rolled out a well-received, and more muted Super Bowl ad in 2023 featuring Miles Teller and his wife dancing around a living room.

Why it matters: Bud Light has been desperately trying to regain its laid-back, all-American brand identity by pouring money into sports-focused marketing as of late: ads where Peyton Manning is throwing beers, or a fan-centric campaign honouring Sunday football traditions.

  • The brand also replaced Modelo as the official beer of the UFC, a deal reported by Bloomberg to be the biggest sponsorship in the mixed martial arts league’s history.

Bottom line: A minute-long ad isn’t going to win Bud Light back the customers it lost, but as the company continues to try and salvage its brand, the Super Bowl is a big chance to let the 100 million-plus people tuning into the game know that it’s going back to the old days.—LA