Budweiser's Brotherhood

The Beer Ad that Brought People to Tears

Budweiser’s ‘Brotherhood’ is a TV advertisement which premiered during the 2013 Super Bowl. Viewers are told the story of a trainer and his young foal as he grows up to become part of Budweiser’s Clydesdale team. The advertisement was incredibly successful, becoming one of the highest-rated and most watched commercials of the Super Bowl. Budweiser’s ‘Brotherhood’ has a high emotional appeal, promoting traditional American values. It plays upon themes of family and relationships, as well as the hard-working values of farmers. The advertisement brought many viewers to tears, which is quite a significant feat for a beer commercial. By successfully creating strong sentimental emotions, consumers develop positive feelings towards the brand making them more likely to buy Budweiser’s products. In order to expand this campaign Budweiser should create a contest which aligns with the symbolic Clydesdales, giving consumers the chance to win a trip to see the hitch on tour anywhere in the United States.   

Budweiser’s Brotherhood is a TV advertisement which premiered during the 2013 Super Bowl. The advertisement shows the relationship between a young foal and his trainer as he grows up and eventually leaves to become part of Budweiser’s Clydesdale team. Three years later the trainer is able to see the Clydesdale’s hitch on tour and they have an emotional reunion. The advertisement was incredibly successful, receiving a lot of praise, and becoming one of the highest-rated and most watched advertisements of the Super Bowl. (1)

Delivery Tool
The main delivery tool is advertising in the form of a television commercial. This was incredibly expensive considering a 30 second advertising spot during the Super Bowl costs approximately $4 million, and Budweiser used a 60 second spot. (2) However, this had an extremely high reach as almost 110 million people watched the Super Bowl. Also the probability of channel surfing is reduced during the Super Bowl as the advertisements have become a major part of the broadcast, with viewers tuning in specifically to see the commercials. Because television advertisements have a high intrusion value, they engage multiple senses and attract the viewer’s attention. In this regard, Budweiser is able to tell a story through their commercial, something which would not be possible with other forms of advertising such as print mediums.

Target Audience
Budweiser’s typical target audience is young males 21-34 years of age as this group makes up the largest population of beer drinkers. (3) This group has a strong association with sports which makes launching the advertisement during the Super Bowl logical as young male beer drinkers are the type of people who typically tune into the game. However, this advertisement has a strong emotional appeal that promotes traditional values of family and aging. Thus middle-aged and older men are targeted with this advertisement as well. This baby-boomer demographic represents a very important audience as they make up a large portion of the population and typically have substantial disposable income.

Appeals & Tactics
The message presented in the Brotherhood advertisement has a strong emotional appeal. Several articles explained how the advertisement brought viewers to tears, a considerable success for a beer commercial.  As the differences between types of beer are small, emotional appeal is important for this product category to create liking and brand loyalty. The Brotherhood commercial effectively creates an emotional bond between the customer and the brand. The advertisement provides an example of an affect-cognition-behaviour tactic as it relies heavily on affective appeals which evoke feelings. The commercial creates warm, sentimental feelings towards the brand, which translate into positive beliefs, which encourages the consumer to act towards the brand by purchasing Budweiser beer.

This advertisement positions Budweiser as a brand with strong traditional values. The Clydesdale horses are used as a symbol for branding which differentiates Budweiser from its competitors. This tradition dates back to 1933, when the two Busch sons surprised their father with a Clydesdale hitch to commemorate the end of Prohibition. (4) This long-standing tradition represents the heritage and tradition of the company. The advertisement itself uses emotion to touch upon themes of relationships, family, and aging. The viewer sees the trainer form a strong emotional connection with his horse as he cares for it and they age together. People are able to follow this story and relate to it, as they may associate it with a similar experience, for example raising children and having them leave home. In addition, the symbols of farming further promote the strong American values of hard-work. These values position the brand as a classic and established American brand, appealing to patriotic citizens as they unite around these traditional values.

Purchase Decision-Making Process/ Hierarchy of Effects
This advertisement stimulates the liking and preference steps of the hierarchy of effects. Viewers feel positive emotions which increases their liking of Budweiser making them more partial to this brand. In terms of the purchase decision-making process this parallels the information search stage and the evaluation of alternatives stage. The advertisement develops favourable attitudes towards the brand and increases brand equity. This makes inclusion of the product in the consideration set more likely. Because the commercial uses emotion to create positive feelings towards the brand it strengthens product beliefs.

Campaign Expansion
The message delivery tool which should be used for expansion is a sales promotion in the form of a contest. In conjunction with the Clydesdale theme presented in their original Super Bowl advertisement, Budweiser should run a contest for a prize of an all expenses paid trip to see the Clydesdale tour anywhere in the United States. Budweiser has three hitches of Clydesdales which tour each region of the United States; Midwest, East coast, and West coast. The winner will be able to choose where they would like to see the Clydesdale tour and will receive a trip for this location, including transportation, accommodation, and spending money. Cases of beer will contain a code which can be used to enter the contest online. To comply with the legalities of not forcing customers to purchase a product to participate, postcards with pre-paid postage will be available at locations selling Budweiser beer which can be mailed in for entry. The contest will be supported with point-of-purchase displays. This will take the form of large, visually appealing cardboard displays which can be placed in store to increase sales. Beer stores typically have a very basic set-up, thus an interesting display will provide a lot of interest and really stand out. The value offered by the contest will create extra incentive to act and encourage consumers to buy Budweiser product rather than a competitor’s. This promotion should be launched right away, so that people associate it with the recent Super Bowl advertisement. The campaign will run for three months from March-May, with the winner being selected at the end of May for a trip prize which will take place in the summer.

This campaign will be highly aligned with the original advertisement as it will surround the Clydesdales, however the objectives will differ slightly. The commercial stimulates liking and preference for the product, while creating loyalty and positive attitudes towards the brand. The contest will aim to increase sales of the product and improve the relationship with customers to stimulate retention.  Whereas the original message dealt with strong emotional appeals in terms of sentimental value, this campaign will play upon emotional appeals which deal more with fun and excitement.

2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2013/02/02/even-with-record-prices-10-million-spot/
3.  http://www.rantrave.com/Rave/Budweiser-A-Marketing-Analysis.aspx
4.  http://anheuser-busch.com/index.php/our-heritage/budweiser-clydesdales/

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