COMMENTARY: Why I Want A-B's Ads to Succeed on Sunday

FILED FEBRUARY 5, 2010

I want A-B's Super Bowl ads to be well-received by viewers on Sunday. Now, before every other brewer and competing blue-silver distributor flames me with emails about objectivity, let me explain. Yes, A-B is a large subscriber, as is MillerCoors, as is Crown and HUSA and on down the road. It has nothing to do with that, as much as it does my interest in promoting the entire beer industry as a whole. I want A-B's ads to resonate with consumers because I want all premium branded beer to win. And when the largest brewer wins on game day, it's a win for all brewers of beer.

Watching football is an American pastime. Because of A-B's exclusivity with the network during the game, A-B necessarily represents all of us, whether we like it or not. When Americans see Bud or Bud Light ads that resonate, they don't just think of those brands, it actually strengthens the connection between consumers and all beer. Jim Koch once told me that when Sam Adams ads are in heavy rotation, all craft beer sales improved. It works the same here. Perhaps millions of Americans will drink a beer on Super Bowl Sunday who normally don't drink beer. I shudder to think what would happen if Americans start drinking more margaritas, wine, or Jack and Cokes while watching football. Football is beer's domain, and that emotional connection comes together in sharp focus during the Super Bowl. Having a strong showing from A-B, and the other brewers who have bought spot ads during or around the game (one estimate has MillerCoors buying $10 million worth of ads on game day) reinforces the notion that premium beer is America's beverage. And in these hard times, I think it's important that we encourage strong marketing of premium and above beers. Maybe a strong showing on the Super Bowl will work to break the recent habitual buying of sub-premium brands by millions of Americans. If that happens, even a little bit, then we all benefit. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, we are all Big Brewers, we are all importers, we are all craft brewers, we are all regional brewers, we are all distributors, and we are all retailers -- on game day.

CLYDESDALES BACK ON. Speaking of, BBD got a sneak peak at A-B's Super Bowl ad lineup, and it appears that after having a Facebook vote, A-B decided to put their Clydesdale ad back into the schedule. Look for the ad entitled "Fence" in the fourth quarter, which should be particularly popular with Texans since it features a longhorn.

Until tomorrow, Harry

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