How Budweiser Can Help Your Automotive Marketing

Take risks to deliver results

And then, there it was—right in the middle of first downs, touchdown passes, and one heck of a halftime show: An ad that would shake the Internet to its core.

We’re talking about Budweiser’s “Brewed the Hard Way” ad that ran during Super Bowl 49 on February 1, 2015. In case you didn’t catch it, here’s the story. Budweiser’s ad touts it as a “proudly macro” beer, embracing the company’s monolithic size for the first time while poking fun at the craft beer industry and all those who “fuss” over its beer.

Immediately, the Internet erupted with outraged craft beer fans posting scathing reviews of both the ad and parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev. Facebook statuses and tweets popped up all over the place within minutes of the ad’s airing. People bashed the ad. They bashed Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch InBev. And that was just the beginning.

Over the following weeks, articles on both the ad and the public’s heated response surfaced everywhere from personal blogs to national news sources like CBS, Fox, and Time. Headlines like “The Frothy Backlash to Budweiser Ad Mocking Craft Beer” and “What the Ale: Budweiser Super Bowl Ad Slams Craft Beer” topped Google news results for searches for “Budweiser” to “Super Bowl 2015.” The ad even sparked responses from members of Congress, who heatedly debated the ad’s positioning in terms of the BREW and BEER Acts currently being debated on Capitol Hill.

There’s only one conclusion you can draw from this fallout: This was a major marketing snafu, and the head of marketing for Anheuser-Busch InBev really screwed up this time. Right?


The truth is that the “Brewed the Hard Way” ad did exactly what Budweiser needed it to do in order to break through the advertising static and reach the company’s prospects.

One thing Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad did was embrace Earl Nightingale’s advice: “If you want to be successful, look at what everyone else is doing, and do the opposite.”

In recent years, “big beer” has been ignoring the emergence of craft beer’s popularity. The industry has stuck with the same boring commercials for years, hoping the Clydesdale horses would hoist its proverbial wagon through the tough years of craft beer’s popularity.

This shift in Budweiser’s advertising shows the company finally realized this was a mistake. Maybe it was its market share dropping from 55 million barrels in 1988 to 16 million barrels in 2014. Whatever it was, something woke Anheuser-Busch InBev up, and it realized it needed to do something to stand out.

So what does this mean for you, a car dealer? The answer is simple: Are you doing the same things you’ve always done? And, perhaps more importantly, are you doing something that makes you stand out from your competitors?

By and large, in the world of automotive advertising, all dealers and dealerships look the same. We aren’t only talking about their physical look, but about public perception.

The public is bombarded with automotive marketing messages that all look and sound the same. The sooner you realize the severity of this problem, the sooner you’ll begin to reap the rewards of finding a solution to it. We just hope it doesn’t take a 71% drop in your sales for you to see it.

You must become a risk-taker. Status quo thinking and common sense action delivers the status quo and common results. If you are seeking more than average results and success, you need to do the opposite.

Next month, we’ll take an even deeper look at why Budweiser’s “Brewed The Hard Way” ad is a stroke of marketing genius and how you can use the same techniques to supercharge your advertising.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1503.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller


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