Entertainment masquerading as advertising
"One-off" is the term advertisers use to describe TV ads that may not function all that well as selling vehicles, but are loaded with entertainment value. (Let's ignore the obvious question: "Wait. Aren't all ads supposed to sell?") The justifications for using one-off commercials include mushy, hard-to-measure rationales like "Our distributors will love it," or "It'll help the sales guys get displays."
In reality, the underlying motivation for these feel-good ads is often top-management's simple human desire to be liked. Who can resist the lure of being praised both by the news media and the pretty girl at the SuperBowl party? ("Yeah, it was our commercial. Say, did I tell you how nice you look in that skirt?")
Even otherwise sophisticated beer marketers are not immune to this warm glow. How else to explain a commercial that cost around a million dollars to make, and another nine million to run on the big game, yet never shows the advertised product, never says anything about that product, and never even speaks the brand name?
Maybe we should call it "awwww value."
The first evidence of this ad's "pow" came almost immediately as self-proclaimed craft-beer nerds took to their mobile devices en masse to whine how unfair it was. This is the same crowd that for years spewed forth libelous invective against Budweiser and other macro beers. Now they were having a childishly difficult time when solid advertising used them as the foil. Regardless, the ad definitely captured attention, achieving the first goal for any commercial. And if it so touched the craft-beer boyz, imagine how well it must have been received by Budweiser drinkers.
We didn't have long to wait to get an indication from research...
The value of advertising comes from achieving one thing: increased sales. In Budweiser's case, the macro-beer campaign is poised to do just that. By giving current Bud drinkers a solid fact-based justification for their loyalty, combined with a dose of braggadocio chops when the label's in front of them at the bar ("What're you drinking over there, kid, Avocado Ale?"), Budweiser will be called for more often. It's inevitable.
Beer-distributor sales guys may already have a sense of this from their daily visits to customers. And when the guys driving the Budweiser trucks get this first hint of brand momentum in many a year, well, that's real "awwww value."