Actually, It's much easier to spot when the TV announcer on an NFL game says "brought to you by Budweiser" and it's the only thing on the screen, sorta like this:
First, it's a claim that actually makes a statement about the beer, a notable change from the forgettable drinker-centric "Grab some Buds" campaign of the past few years.
Second, it's a claim that speaks to a taste-experience. Smoothness can be defined in a number of ways: absence of bitterness, absence of too much carbonation, absence of harsh or off-putting flavor cues, and more. While beer drinkers generally favor "smoothness," lack of a singular definition makes it a somewhat unfocused claim.
Fourth, it's a thinly veiled reference to craft beers, the hottest lagers in the beer cooler. When the former #1 beer in America finally makes an offensive move against its greatest tormenters, it's a conclusive sign we are in a new "beer era."
Will Budweiser simply paste "America's Smoothest Lager" on the end of commercials with no further explanation? (They have underplayed their hand like that before.)
Or will there be an energized new Budweiser advertising idea that causes people to become interested in what this "smoothest lager" thing is all about?
If it's the former, not much will change.
If it's the latter, Budweiser may have taken the first step to addressing the most important mandate in marketing: Make your brand distinctive.
What's encouraging is Budweiser has chosen a change in advertising direction, rather than playing the same losing advertising hand over and over.
Maybe Bud won't die after all.