Budweiser celebrates bar reopenings to the tune of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’

Dive Brief:

  • Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand has dropped a new 60-second video ad on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to promote bars reopening, according to details the company shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The video shows a bartender opening up shop while the iconic Bud Clydesdales leave the ranch and run across fields and cities, all to the tune of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Meanwhile, a puppy also makes the journey across land to meet up with his buddies in the “Reunited with Buds” spot.
  • The ad also promotes a safety message the tagline “We can’t wait to see our buds. But when we do, let’s do it safely.” Anomaly Canada worked with the brand on the spot.

Dive Insight:

Budweiser is embracing bars reopening across the United States in an ad that speaks to the excitement of being reunited with friends after a long lockdown pause. However, the message is risky at a time when the rate of COVID-19 infection is rising again, forcing some states to pause their reopening.

Budweiser joins Domino’s Pizza, Macy’s and The Las Vegas Strip as marketers that are now open for business and have created advertising tapping into consumer’s desires to socialize, while promising safe environments, per a report in The Wall Street Journal. However, consumers may develop reopening ad fatigue if every ad takes on the same message, as happened with COVID-19-related ads during the first phase of lockdowns.

It’s no surprise that Budweiser would want to call attention to bars and restaurants reopening as these outlets account for a significant portion of the brand’s sales. However, many have been hard hit by lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. In April, Budweiser’s parent company AB InBev saw a 32% drop in global sales, driven by bar and restaurant closures even as sales to consumers drinking at home grew, although not enough to compensate for the loss of restaurant sales.

To support out-of-work bar and restaurant workers, Anheuser-Busch contributed $1 million to the US Bartenders Guild’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program for its COVID-19 Relief and Response Program, and more than $2 million to local organizations supporting bar and restaurant workers.

Budweiser makes a point in its ad to encourage consumers who go out or socialize in their backyards to follow guidelines set by health officials like the CDC, local governments and individual bars themselves when reuniting with friends. However, the overall tone of the ad suggests that it is finally time to meet up with friends again.

The reopening of economies is a time when local businesses as well as brands like Budweiser hope to recoup some of their losses over the last few months. However, if businesses and brands move too fast, they risk being perceived as putting profits over safety as rates rise, thereby alienating some consumers.

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