- AB InBev brand Stella Artois is bringing back The Dude from iconic '90s film "The Big Lebowski," played by Jeff Bridges, and Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City," played by Sarah Jessica Parker, for its Super Bowl commercial, according to a press release.
- In the spot, titled "Change Up The Usual," the recognizable characters cause confusion at a bar when they choose a Stella instead of their usual White Russian and Cosmo drink orders in an effort to "help end the global water crisis." The campaign, created by Mother New York, is part of Stella's "Pour it Forward" initiative with Water.org.
- For a limited time, sales of Stella Artois will trigger a donation to Water.org. Every six pack sold provides six months of access to clean water for one person in the developing world; every 12 pack sold provides access for 12 months. Every pour or bottle sold at a bar or restaurant offers one month of clean water access, according to the brand.
Stella Artois' humorous commercial featuring actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges reprising their iconic roles will probably resonate most with older millennials and Gen Xers, who may have been fans of "Sex and the City" and "The Big Lebowski," both of which debuted in the late '90s. But, they both have generated cult followings, and the '90s-era nostalgia could appeal to younger audiences. Last year, Stella used the Super Bowl and the vast audience that it brings to similarly raise awareness about its Water.org partnership with an ad starring Matt Damon.
Hollywood-themed creative and celebrity appearances are common features of Super Bowl commercials. This year, PepsiCo is featuring celebrities in Super Bowl ads for two of its brands —Bubly sparkling water, which stars musician Michael Bublé, and Doritos, starring Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys. M&M's is featuring actress Christina Applegate, and Colgate has tapped actor Luke Wilson.
The Stella campaign is part of AB InBev's significant Super Bowl ad buy that includes five-and-a-half minutes of airtime during the game, which makes it the largest advertiser during the event. Thirty-second spots are reportedly going for around $5 million each. Along with Stella, the company will run ads for Budweiser, Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold and Bon + Viv Spiked Seltzer. AB InBev is also running eight five-second plugs during the game, including billboard and aerials that are overlaid in breaks in play during the game.
Tying a Super Bowl campaign to a cause-focused message could be risky for some brands, as two-thirds of Americans think the Super Bowl is an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements, a recent survey by Morning Consult and The Wall Street Journal's CMO Today revealed. Stella's effort potentially minimizes that risk because water conservation — while under attack by some politicians — as an issue has been dwarfed of late by more heated discussions around immigration and gender politics.