Bud Light extends 'Game of Thrones' references with ad resurrecting Bud Knight
- Bud Light's Bud Knight character has returned after being killed by The Mountain, a villain from "Game of Thrones," in a Super Bowl ad earlier this year, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- In a new video spot, the knight is resurrected after a wizard casts a spell that involves saying types of pasta over the knight in a scene that (some spoilers follow) appears to parody how the character Jon Snow is revived after being killed in a similarly brutal fashion on "Thrones." After the wizard leaves the room, the knight reanimates before the tagline, "Legends Never Die" appears on the screen.
- The cliff hanger hints that the knight will come back to life for another series of Bud Light's Medieval-themed "Dilly Dilly" campaign. The new ad dropped during the NCAA Final Four, which took place this past weekend. The creative additionally debuts just a week before the "Game of Thrones" final season premieres.
AB InBev's Bud Light is trying to recapture some of the buzz it earned earlier this year for a co-branded spot with HBO around the Super Bowl, which was considered by industry watchers to be one of the few genuine surprises and best ads of the night. Bringing back the Bud Knight, who last appeared to meet an unfortunate, violent end, also potentially comes as a response to rival brewer Miller Coors and its Miller Lite beer, specifically.
For March Madness, Miller Lite previously launched an ad effort that shows the actor playing the Bud Knight standing up after the director calls cut on the rival's Super Bowl ad and bypassing a fridge full of Bud Light to instead drink Miller Lite. Miller claims the campaign, which is running across TV, digital and social media, is one of the largest ad buys ever for the NCAA's college basketball tournament. Bud Light issued its own March Madness ad as a response in anticipation of the Miller campaign, with the newest creative addressing the brewer's competitor less directly.
While it is not unusual for brands to take swipes at competitors in their advertising, the Bud-Miller feud stands out for how long it has lasted and for how acrimonious the attacks are. Miller Coors is also currently suing AB InBev over other Super Bowl ads the brand ran referencing Miller Coor's use of corn syrup, which it argues are misleading and misappropriate its trademarks.
With beer sales suffering, both marketers are hoping to connect with large audiences of sports fans by ramping up their rivalry around the March Madness tournament. Last year, the final games of the series counted 97 million viewers from 180 countries, generating 69.7 million social media impressions, according to the NCAA.
These widely viewed sports events offer Bud Light the chance to reach its own customers and to expose the brand to "Game of Thrones" fans, who might not traditionally favor brands like Bud Light. In fact, only 3.75% of Bud Light drinkers are also "Game of Thrones" fans, according to findings from StatSocial.