Bud Light Desperately Partners With NFL Legends

Bud Light’s long and slow climb back into viability continued in recent days when the embattled brewing giant enlisted the aid of two NFL legends. A new ad campaign featuring Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith rolled out last week.

It is an obvious attempt to recover from a disastrous year that saw the brand pummeled by outraged consumers. This sprang from its ill-advised partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney that created widespread boycotts and tanked the former number one U.S. beer brand.

The new Bud Light campaign is dubbed “Easy Rounds.” It shows beers being thrown around a bar to excited patrons by none other than two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning.

One of those tosses is caught by former Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith, much to the surprise of those around him. 

Interviewed by Fox Business, Smith called Bud Light an “iconic brand.” He said that even the Cowboys go through highs and lows, which is very true considering their decades-long championship drought.

The drought for the beer brand is not nearly so long, but it is deep. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s parent company, in October reported a 13.5% decline in sales in the third quarter. Retail sales for the same period are down 17%, and that is almost all due to Bud Light’s plunge. 

The brand is still the NFL’s official sponsor. This despite a 30% overall drop in sales.

Manning told reporters that he is happy to be part of the “largest ever NFL postseason ticket giveaway. “Experiencing the playoffs or the Super Bowl is a special moment for a fan, and I’m happy that Emmitt and I get to be part of Bud Light’s mission.”

But is it enough to bring a once-loyal drinker back into the fold?

A recent survey showed that 40% of those currently boycotting are willing to give it another go. And the ads are going to be heavily featured in some of the most-viewed sporting events of the year.

A deluge of 15- and 30-second format commercials will appear throughout the NFL playoffs and on up to Super Bowl LVIII. 

This marketing campaign followed the announcement by Anheuser-Busch that it will provide $3 million in scholarships for families of fallen and disabled U.S. first responders.

Bud Light also entered a $105 million deal with UFC in its quest to return to relevance. This sparked criticism for the sport and calls for another boycott, meaning there’s still quite a hill to climb.

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