Super Bowl Advertising Through The Years

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The Wall Street Journal, in their Life & Culture section, took a look at the commercials during the big game next week in Super Bowl Ads Turn Serious.

The 100 million-plus viewers expected Sunday will see a host of emotion-rich commercials that tug on the heartstrings or take on problems. Coca-Cola ’s spot will shed light on the rash of Internet bullying while the National Football League will air a public-service announcement aimed at ending domestic violence. Procter & Gamble will re-air an ad for its feminine-care brand Always that tries to fight gender stereotypes and remove the stigma associated with the phrase “like a girl.”

The article also talks about what’s at stake, with a chance to reach the largest audience for a TV event, which last year was viewed by 111.5 million, compared to number 2, which is the Academy Awards broadcast, which in 2014 had 43 million viewers. As a result, “[t]he Super Bowl also commands the highest ad rates. This year, 30 seconds of time costs roughly $4.5 million.”

The article then goes in to a short synopsis of each major company’s plans. ABI is, of course, the only beer company advertising again this year, and here’s their plans:

Budweiser

Last year’s Super Bowl stars—the Clydesdale horses and an irresistible puppy—are looking to repeat. This year, the Clydesdales come to the rescue of the puppy. Stepping in at the last minute, they save him from a hungry wolf and bring him home safely. The twist: The spot adds extra emotion by using a reworked version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers performed by Sleeping At Last. Is it enough to outdo last year’s spot that had “Let Her Go” by Passenger as its soundtrack?

Perhaps more interesting, the article also includes an interactive Super Bowl Ad-Spending Tracker, which breaks down the history of Super Bowl commercials by industry and even by company over the past fifteen years. For example, here’s the spending trends from the beverage industry, which included non-alcoholic as well as alcohol.

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Then here’s Anheuser-Busch from 200 through 2008, the year they were acquired by InBev and became Anheuser-Busch InBev.

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Then ABI spent at least as much, and usually more, in the subsequent years.

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Then just for fun here’s the lone ad from the Beer Institute in 2006, which if I’m not mistaken was for Anheuser-Busch’s failed attempt at rallying the industry behind its “Here’s to Beer” educational website.

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Here’s the Beer Institute ad that ran in 2006.

Beer In Ads #1450: The Chief Of All


Thursday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1910. This is an old ad, when clearly sensitivities were different. But check out the questionable ad copy, which few probably even thought twice about over 100 years ago. “Just as the American Indian chose his chieftain for deeds of valor in war, and wisdom in times of peace,
So has Budweiser, because of its Quality and Purity, been chosen by the American of today the Chief of all bottled beers.” It’s also interesting that a selling point was that was bottled only in St. Louis.

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Beer In Ads #1447: Great Ballplayers Drink Lite


Monday’s ad is Miller Lite, from 1982. Today is also the birthday of Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker, who arguably was at least partially responsible for the success of lower-calorie diet beers with his wildly successful ads for the beer in the 1980s. It was a marvel of modern advertising and I’m still amazed to this day that it worked in convincing people to drink an even more watered-down version of the macro lagers of the day. But Uecker was certainly great in the ads, and I loved him in the “Major League” movies, too.

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Beer In Ads #1446: Decoupage Bud Girl


Sunday’s ad is yet another one for Budweiser, this time from the 1970s. While the ad, or sign, is from the Seventies, I suspect that the image is most likely much older, possibly from the late 19th century. But the decoupage sign? That’s pure 1970s. Even my mom got caught up in the craft craze, decoupaging all manner of do-dads when I was a kid. So this would have seemed right at home in that decade.

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Beer In Ads #1445: Why America Prefers Budweiser


Saturday’s ad is another one for Budweiser, this time from 1936. While the ad is shortly after the end of prohibition, and I can only imagine beer lovers were pretty excited to once more be able to legally buy beer, I’m still not convinced Bud’s success had anything to with “age-old taste.” Also, as the ad suggests, when did Anheuser-Busch employ monks?

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Beer In Ads #1444: Be Sure All The Essential B Vitamins Give You A Full Day’s Work


Friday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1943. This World War 2 ad, while people were rationing, wants to ensure you get all of your B vitamins so you can keep on working or fighting. The imagery is fairly surreal, with a planet-sized clock with a ramp of working people lined up around it, creating a Saturn-like appearance. At the end of the line is a soldier, sailor, a construction worker who brings his own sledgehammer with him, a female member of the military, a farmer, another soldier with a pack on his back, a businessman, and so on ad infinitum. And the ad isn’t even about beer, but the brewer’s yeast which they supply to pharmaceutical companies who in turn use it to make Vitamin B pills. Yay yeast!

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Beer In Ads #1442: A Full-Bodied Brew For Able-Bodied Men


Wednesday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1960. Showing a man playing golf, suggesting he could play better by keeping “a Guinness in mind!” But I guess that only holds true for men, and not just any men, but just the tough ones, as the ad copy makes clear. “But for muscular men … who work hard, play hard, live hard … this is it.” And apparently it’s been that way for awhile now. “For 200 years now , this dark Irish brew has been the masculine man’s preference. Frankly, it is not for everyone. But vigorous, vital men are vehement that Guinness stout has the secret of the cool refreshment they need.”

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