Happy National Beer Day. (Yep, that's a thing)
The Cullen-Harrison Act took effect on April 7, 1933, allowing lawful beer consumption which had been banned during Prohibition. It wasn't quite the end of Prohibition. On that day, only 3.2% alcohol by weight (compared with up to 5% in full-strength beer), returned to market. But, hey, it's still cause to celebrate.
And on National Beer Day, Ace Metrix is out with the top performing beer ads in the first quarter of 2015. Atop the list is Budweiser's “Lost Dog” spot which stole viewers’ hearts at the Super Bowl. The second highest-rated ad was Budweiser's “Brewed the Hard Way” ad which also ran during the Super Bowl in February. The ad was a departure from the more traditional beer ads and, by some critics, perceived as anti-craft beer. The focus was on the quality of its more traditional ingredients.
It’s a sign that the big guys are responding to the rise of craft beer, focusing advertising bucks and commercials on ingredients and not necessarily celebrity power or catchy slogans. “People are talking more about the beer itself not the advertising,” says E.J. Schultz who covers the alcohol market for Advertising Age magazine. “That is causing the big guys to evolve their approach.”
But let's not knock the traditional "fun" approach to marketing beer. In honor of National Beer Day, Yahoo Finance put together this (very unscientific) list of some of the best beer ads of all time (video attached above):
#5 Pabst Blue Ribbon
A 1979 ad for Pabst Blue Ribbon starring a young Patrick Swayze highlighted the disco party scene. Sales of PBR peaked in 1977 at 18 million barrels but fizzled in the ‘80s and ‘90s before making a comeback over the last decade. Pabst Blue Ribbon consumption jumped nearly 200% between 2004 and 2013. In September, Russian brewer Oasis Beverages shelled out $700 million for Pabst Brewing which also includes brands Old Milwaukee, Schlitz and Colt 45.
#4 Red Stripe Beer
Red Stripe beer, part of Diageo, rolled out the Hooray for Beer campaign in the early 2000s starring the Red Stripe Ambassador. Red Stripe later extended the slogan online and on TV and even included a spot starring Lennox Lewis in which the former heavyweight boxing champ confronts the Red Stripe Ambassador.
#3 Stella Artois
American film directors Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola directed this 2010 ad for the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand, Stella Artois. The marketing minds at Stella have been trying to appeal to a younger, hipper beer drinker. It was the first beer maker to buy ads on Instagram in 2013.
#2 Dos Equis
And who can forget the Most Interesting Man in the World-- these oddly serious Dos Equis ads introduced us to the epitome of class, luxury and charm. Whether cliff diving with models or driving his yacht away from pirates, the Most Interesting Man reminded us to “stay thirsty” and drink Heineken’s Dos Equis.
And of course, one of the catchiest and perhaps most annoying of all: the 2000 Super Bowl commercial that sparked countless knock-offs, parodies and imitations. It also sparked sales which soared in the months following the ad’s debut. Budweiser's infamous "Wassup" spot won the Grand Clio at the 41st annual Clio Awards that year. It was based on a short film called “True” created by music video director Charles Stone III.
By Joanne Campione