Why Budweiser’s Super Bowl 51 spot was the clear winner this year

9th February 2017 by Sarah Weinman Picken

Sunday evening saw almost 112 million tune into the world’s biggest sporting event, the 51st Super Bowl. However, the winner isn’t necessarily the team that lifts the trophy, but rather the brand whose campaign drives the most engagement.

With companies willing to pay $5 million for a 30 second TV spot, you can understand why the Super Bowl holds the biggest single day television audience. This year saw a slightly different approach to campaigns with many adopting a political agenda in light of a divided nation following the inauguration of President Trump.

Personally, I believe there was one stand out brand, Budweiser. President Trump recently released an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim – majority countries. Rather topically Budweiser’s advert #bornthehardway’ shows the story of the beer brands immigrant founder, Adolphus Busch. The film goes on to show his journey to the United States where he meets fellow immigrant and co-founder, Eberhard Anheuser.

This year, analysis showed that consumers wanted cinematic story-telling that addressed real issues rather than humour from the adverts. With over 95,000 mentions socially on Super Bowl Sunday, Budweiser made a statement reflecting on the mood of the country and clearly made an impact. The film has become the most talked about Super Bowl advert and has over 20 million views on Facebook.

However, a nod was given the other way when #boycottbudweiser began trending on Twitter after the Patriots sealed a last gap victory. Admittedly the story begins with an insult as Busch enters America he is told ‘you are not wanted here’ in a scene that seems to make a subtle political statement.

I take the view that the spot focuses on themes of hard work and the pursuit of dreams against tough odds, a prime example of NFL athletes and values. The spot resonates well with the audience and encourages today’s generation to continue to strive for their dreams in a world of uncertainty and unrest.

This is not to say that humour wasn’t a winner also. Mr. Clean ‘Cleaner of your dreams’ saw the largest conversation online with 11,700 mentions in one minute. Brands have the platform to voice their political opinion but results clearly showed that consumers wanted relief from the issues that are happening right now.

You can see why Budweiser really resonated with viewers as consumers want issues to be addressed and not ignored. Adolphus Busch optimises the American Dream, which makes him the perfect protagonist and this the perfect Super Bowl campaign.