Perennial Super Bowl advertiser Anheuser-Busch Cos. is leaning heavily on humor in a raft of ads slotted for this year's game, which airs Feb. 3.
Bud Light will be featured in six of the seven spots being purchased by the brewer, while the trademark Clydesdale horses will return in the single spot for the core Budweiser brand.
The cost for a 30-second spot on the game, which is routinely the most-viewed television broadcast of the year, has been reported as high as $2.7 million. The game will air on the Fox network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Bob Lachky, executive vice president for global industry and creative development at Anheuser-Busch, said two of the Bud Light ads will rely on "rug-pull" gags involving special powers that the beer supposedly endows on drinkers.
In one spot, Bud Light claims to give people the ability to breathe fire — something that goes awry when two people are out on a date — while another spot claims the beer gives people X-ray vision, something a young woman who gets it wishes she didn't have.
Other Bud Light spots include a humorous look at some cavemen who stumble upon a useful discovery — the wheel — when they need a way to get their cooler made of stone to a party. Another spot depicts a clever way that a guy attending a wine and cheese party still gets to enjoy his beer.
The Clydesdale spot, which traditionally features an uplifting theme, focuses on a horse that didn't make the final cut to join the team and took a year to train — with a Dalmatian.
The ad "tells a good story at at time when, let's face it, there's a lot of negativity and cynicism," Lachky said.