The version that aired during the big game was watered down from the longer clip (see below) that appeared on the internet during the week.
The spot is called “Not Backing Down,” and it challenges the rise of craft beer companies in America. Budweiser had a similar commercial mocking craft beer that was broadcast during Super Bowl 49. That commercial, called “Brewed the Hard Way,” focused on painting craft beers as dainty fruity brews preferred by fussy hipsters. It created a firestorm of criticism against Budweiser and ignited Twitter debates pitting Budweiser against craft breweries, as witnessed by the replies to this tweet.
The extended edition of the 2016 ad states that Budweiser beer is not a hobby, not small, not sipped, not soft, not imported, not a fruit cup, and not following in anyone else’s footsteps. The implication is that other beer companies, and their beers, are all of these things.
Curiously, Budweiser also asserts that they’re “not for everyone.” In the immediate sense, this is an odd statement for the 3rd-best selling beer in the United States, which has used the slogan “This Bud’s For You” for years. In a deeper sense, the company is trying to play it cool that the craft beer industry is making enormous gains on the mass market beers, causing a scary decline in their sales. So Budweiser is trying to poking fun at not just craft beers, but fans of craft beers. You like craft beer? That’s ok! We didn’t want you for a customer anyway! We’re not for everyone.
The ad also proclaims that their famous clydesdale horses are “not ponies.” They are muscular, strong, powerful beasts in the imagery shown throughout the commercial. The horses are a symbol of Budweiser’s might as they intend to stampede over smaller beer companies. We’ll have to wait and see what the beer-drinking public’s response is to this rally-cry-slash-putdown in the days to come.
Check out the extended version of the commercial below, which Budweiser uploaded to YouTube on February 5th.
And here is the shorter ad that aired during the Super Bowl game: