Super Bowl LIII wasn’t exactly a thriller on the field, but brands were going all-out for their commercials in Brand Bowl 2019.
Coming in at around $5 million for a 30 second ad, companies really spent on celebrities this year. Cardi B, Tom Hanks, Ludacris, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chance The Rapper and the Backstreet Boys, among others, were all front and center. Even the late Andy Warhol made an appearance.
But for all the celebrity hype, the winner of this year’s Brand Bowl was Bud Light and their collaboration with HBO. Since 2017, Bud Light has been making a steady stream of ads featuring medieval characters and the now-famous catchphrase, “dilly dilly!” The beer giant took out a series of ads throughout the night, mostly focusing how superior their ingredients are to their competitors, namely, that they don’t use corn syrup.
One of their ads, however, skipped the ingredient list and took a completely different turn. After a medieval joust, where the Bud Knight is defeated, the commercial pivots from simple beer ad to promotion for Game of Thrones. In true GoT fashion, a dragon appears from the skies and rains fiery mayhem on the audience. The massively popular TV series is set to embark on its final season this April, and teamed up with Bud Light to amplify the hype for it.
This pairing of giants is a great sign for marketers. It shows that brands don’t have to just be tied down to their own messaging. Increasingly we’re seeing companies pair up with others to double down on their customer engagement strategies. What struck me about this ad wasn’t so much the content (full disclosure – I don’t watch Game of Thrones, and I’m not a Bud Light drinker), but how impressive the effort was to team up and signal boost for one another.
My runner-up for the Brand Bowl was the Washington Post’s Democracy Dies In Darkness spot, calling out the need for journalism and a free flow of information in uncertain political and societal climates. The newspaper did a great job of taking a poignant and strong stand without being controversial or too political.
Other standouts included Michael Bublé struggling with bubly seltzer, Harrison Ford’s dog telling Alexa to order a pallet of dog food, and the NFL seemingly fitting every single football star in the same room together.
Finally, it was great to see Jeff Bridges reprise his role in The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides.
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