The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Budweiser Super Bowl ad sends a clean-energy message using Bob Dylan, a dog and Clydesdales

Over the years, Anheuser-Busch has used its Super Bowl ads to tout good old-fashioned values, like love and the indelible bond between people and the animals they love. If a message about beer was in there, all the better as nearly every year sap and suds have been a reliable hit with Super Bowl viewers.

This year’s 45-second spot sends a message about the future and the need for clean energy options. Oh, there’s a Dalmatian and the noble Clydesdales tugging a wagonload of brew. And audio of a great song is laid over it. But, wait, what is that? It’s Bob Dylan’s 1962 song “Blowin' in the Wind,” which sends a message about war and peace and freedom. And, as the camera pulls back, the viewer sees that it’s wind turbines that cause the dog’s ears to flap.

“It’s more than just beer,” Angie Slaughter, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of sustainability, told USA Today. “This commercial is for everyone. It’s something we should be thinking about every day.” The company, she says, has a wind farm on an Oklahoma ranch and Budweiser is the first major brand to be brewed entirely with wind power.

Will that message about the future resonate with viewers who, like President Trump, do not acknowledge global warming or will it turn them off? Budweiser entered the conversation about immigration during the Super Bowl two years ago and it hopes to leave politics out of the matter this year.

Budweiser's Super Bowl ad highlights its co-founder's pursuit of the American dream. (Video: Budweiser)

“I would never chase a political approach because of the buzz. When we did it a couple years back it was not intentional, but we did it because it was authentic,” Marcel Marcondes, the chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev in the U.S., told AdAge. That ad focused on the contributions of U.S. immigrants, showing the journey of Adolphus Busch to America. “It was the story of our founder. We did not do it because of the debate.”

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