People around the United States have been patiently waiting for their favorite spots, including bars and restaurants, to open up after the Coronavirus pandemic forced closures. Budweiser is now embracing the excitement felt by many across the country through a new 60-second ad that promotes bars re-opening. The ad is set to the tune of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and was released on Anheuser-Busch’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages. Titled “Reunited with Buds”, the ad features scenes of bars reopening mixed in with shots of the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale and puppy running through fields and cities until they are reunited. The advertisement ends with a safety tagline, “We can’t wait to see our buds. But when we do, let’s do it safely.”
“Reunited with Buds” uses two of Budweiser’s most recognizable mascots to engage viewers and tap into their excitement to socialize in public again. By using social media, where both Budweiser and parent company Anheuser-Busch lead in strong advertising performances according to a Gartner report, they can connect with homebound consumers eager to go out to bars again. Like many brands and consumers, Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch were impacted by the closure of bars and restaurants earlier this year, resulting in a 32% drop in global sales. So it makes sense that Budweiser would celebrate the reopening of bars as it strives to make up for lost sales. By adding its safety tagline, Budweiser makes a point of encouraging consumers to go out again, but to do so while following public health guidelines.
The new ad may not pass without controversy, however, as the reopening of bars happens while Coronavirus cases continue to rise in most states across the country. The new ad was released as some states, like Florida and Texas, actually reversed their reopening of bars given a sharp rise in cases. By celebrating the opening of social spaces during the pandemic, Budweiser could be viewed by consumers as putting profits ahead of people’s safety. Additionally, releasing an ad about the joy of reuniting and socializing could resonate with consumers, but could also be seen as tired or opportunistic in the same way consumers came to view Coronavirus-related ads during lockdowns.
Though Budweiser’s ad could be seen as arriving too soon, some consumers could find it to be a hopeful sign that things are on the way back to normal. Despite the controversial timing, Budweiser’s ad could still inspire consumers to crack open a cold beer and hang out with friends—safely, of course.