Bud Light’s “Hold” Stands Out From The Pre-Bowl Pack

Bud Light



The heyday of romance in ads feels a long time ago. Back in the 90s, everything from gum to soft drinks to instant coffee came with a side of flirtation and a sprinkling of sexual tension. These days advertisers looking to tug at the heartstrings are more likely to turn to parents, grandparents or even pets than feature a couple.

But as with most tactics, if it worked well in the past there was probably a good reason why, and adding romance to your ads has plenty of advantages. It’s something most people are interested in, after all. Even more importantly, it’s a great way to amp up the human “between-ness” in your ad – the chemistry, eye contact and non-verbal communication between characters. As Orlando Wood’s Look Out shows, between-ness wins attention and builds effectiveness.

Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad, “Hold”, gets a healthy dose of between-ness out of the most tedious of modern circumstances. Being stuck on hold, listening to hold music, for what seems like hours (and sometimes is!) is not something anyone enjoys. Actors Miles Teller and Keleigh Sperry – a real-life married couple – find a way to make it more fun, with Miles’ goofy dance to the on-hold music cheering his bored wife up and sparking a playful dance duet.

Even if you don’t know the Top Gun: Maverick star or the fact he’s married to his co-star here, there’s an easy chemistry between them which makes the ad feel more warm and human. It especially stands out as a Super Bowl ad, which tend to cram a lot of content into each extremely expensive second. “Hold” takes its time instead, using one great idea really well instead of bombarding the viewer with multiple moments. The result is a strong 4.1-Star score for Bud Light on Test Your Ad, up with the best of their old “Bud Knight” spots. It’s also got very high Brand Fluency and short-term effectiveness scores, a real asset on a night so stuffed with brands, logos and messages.

It’s good to see a big brand like Bud Light doing something different for its Super Bowl ad, as marketing’s biggest night has become just a wee bit formulaic over the last few years. Fast, in-your-face ads stuffed with celebrities doing zany things are being used in almost every category – an approach that counts as playing it safe when the cost of joining the game is so high. Last year no brands broke through into 5-Star territory. Bud Light haven’t got there either, but they’ve tried something different and had the confidence to make an ad that’s intimate, funny, very human and still highly effective.

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