By E.J. Schultz
Despite reports on Monday suggesting otherwise, Budweiser’s Clydesdales are not being relegated to the barn. Indeed the iconic horses will remain a significant part of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s marketing playbook, including appearing in an upcoming Super Bowl ad, the brewer said Monday afternooon.
Speculation on the Clydesdales future was sparked by a story in The Wall Street Journal that stated Budweiser “will not trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising.”
That led to headlines elsewhere suggesting that the brand was giving the horses a “pink slip” for the holidays, or is “ditching” them, or putting them “out to pasture.”
But the brewer refuted the speculation this afternoon with the following statement: “The story this morning may have left a wrong impression — the Budweiser Clydesdales will, in fact, be featured in next year’s Super Bowl advertising and are also a part of upcoming holiday responsible drinking advertising. The Clydesdales play a strong role for the brand, representing Budweiser quality and care for more than 80 years. As icons of the brand — and relevant symbols of integrity, perfection and team spirit for all generations — they are important to the brand and our campaigns.”
The Wall Street Journal story — which referenced a current Bud holiday ad featuring twentysomethings — was mostly about how Budweiser has been making more moves to appeal to millennial drinkers, a strategy that has been in place for a while. While the brand might be currently amping up those efforts — like sponsoring food festivals — Bud is expected to also continue courting a broader base of consumers, as it has long done, with some of its marketing. That would include efforts like Budweiser’s ongoing sponsorship of Major League Baseball, which this year was touted with an ad called “Always There.”
The Clydesdales have all-age appeal. In recent years they have been deployed for expensive Super Bowl ads, while Bud has mostly used other tactics for its year-round advertising. Still, even when not on the air, Bud consistently deployed the Clydesdales in other ways. For instance, some of the Clydesdales recently went to China, where the brewer used them in Chinese New Year’s celebrations commemorating the year of the horse.