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Brands gamble on Super Bowl

News, 19 January 2017
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NEW YORK: Super Bowl advertising is a high-stakes gamble for both old hands and first timers as the contrasting experiences of two brands taking part in this year's event demonstrate.

Brewer Anheuser-Busch, appearing for the 28th year in a row, has bought three minutes of airtime during the game for four of its brands – valued at around $30m – including a first outing for its Busch value brand and a new creative direction for Bud Light, as well as ads for Budweiser and Michelob Ultra.

While little has been revealed about the Bud Light ad, beyond the tagline 'Famous Among Friends', Marcel Marcondes, VP/US marketing at Anheuser-Busch, advised that viewers should not expect epic films or celebrities, the Wall Street Journal reported. The remark was a reference to last year's effort featuring Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen which failed to turn around a decline in sales.

While Anheuser-Busch is spending big on trying out a new direction, Pennsylvania-based building materials supplier 84 Lumber has run into problems just getting onto air.

A first-time advertiser planning to air a 90-second spot costing $15m, it has had an ad rejected by broadcaster Fox, according to Advertising Age.

Michael Brunner, CEO of the agency behind the spot, Pittsburgh-based Brunner, explained that the original ad had a job recruitment message and included a depiction of a border wall. This was deemed too political in the current climate, given president-elect Donald Trump's well-known preferences regarding border security.

"Fox rejected our original commercial because they determined that some of the imagery, including 'the wall' would be too controversial," Brunner said. "So we went back and revised the spot to make it acceptable to them."

The new version has been approved for TV, and the rejected version will be put online. "We all believe too strongly in that message to leave it on the editing room floor," said Brunner.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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