Wind turbines join Budweiser’s staples in Super Bowl ad

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, February 4, 2019

The staples are all there in Budweiser’s newest Super Bowl spot — majestic Clydesdales and an adorable pup — along with something new: towering wind turbines.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Budweiser and the world’s largest brewer, is using a 1-minute spot during Sunday’s championship game to tout its commitment to switch its electricity supply to 100 percent renewables within nine years (Energywire, March 30, 2017).

The ad, which has already claimed more than 14 million views on Budweiser’s own YouTube channel following its digital release last month, showcases the brewer’s Thunder Ranch wind farm in Billings, Okla. The 60,000-acre wind farm generates 300 megawatts via its 120 wind turbines.

The spot features a black-and-white Dalmatian riding atop an old-fashioned coach pulled by a team of Clydesdales, the dog’s ears and jowls flapping in the breeze.

“Wind never felt better,” text states on the screen, as Bob Dylan’s iconic “Blowin’ in the Wind” plays. “Now brewed with wind power for a better tomorrow,” the ad says.

The spot ends with a close-up of a wind turbine emblazoned with the Budweiser logo. Small print in the ad informs viewers that wind power is “one type of energy we use to brew.”

“We’re bringing more than horsepower to our 2019 Super Bowl commercial. The time has come to take action and help build a better future for us all,” Budweiser wrote in a brief statement announcing its newest ad.

But the spot — one of eight ads Anheuser-Busch InBev will air during the 5 minutes and 45 seconds of air time it has purchased for the game, according to data compiled by Ad Age — drew criticism from the Kentucky Coal Association.

“Actually, Budweiser is brewed with mostly fossil fuels,” asserted KCA President Tyler White, pointing to data released by Anheuser-Busch InBev last year that acknowledged its brewing processes are powered by a mix of electricity and heat.

While the company’s energy sources include natural gas, it is also increasing its “usage of low carbon sources such as biogas and landfill gas,” the business stated at that time.

The company has also focused on using less heat and water to create its beverages (Greenwire, April 11, 2018).

But White disparaged Anheuser-Busch InBev for purchasing renewable electricity credits, arguing “publicity-seeking companies want to pretend they are 100 percent wind.”

“Anheuser-Busch should pull its Super Bowl commercial and apologize to all Americans — including the workers of the coal, natural gas and nuclear industries — for its ‘100 percent wind powered’ lie,” White said.

When it comes to truth in advertising, the new Budweiser spot definitely falls short in one area: The gusts that lift the Dalmatian’s ears aren’t entirely natural.

“They had a wind machine to get that effect,” the dog’s owner, Eleanor Winters, admitted in an interview with San Francisco’s KBCW.

Winters said two Dalmatians were auditioned for the ad, but her dog, nicknamed Phoebe, earned the feature role.

“They liked the way her ears blew in the wind. It fit into whatever idea they had,” she said.

Coastal erosion

Viewers in the New Orleans media market will see an ad focused on coastal erosion during the commercial breaks Sunday.

Restore the Mississippi River Delta, an umbrella group for five environmental organizations, announced it has purchased a 30-second spot.

The ad stars nearly two dozen Louisiana children urging viewers to support restoration and protection projects in the region.

“Louisiana is my home. Our home. But our coasts are disappearing, and this loss affects me. And me. And me. It puts the Gulf of Mexico at my doorstep. It darkens my future. Our future. And it could be gone if we don’t do anything,” state the children, who each read a sentence as they are identified by the city or area in which they live. “Don’t give up on my coast. Our state is losing a football field of land every 100 minutes.”

The ad will continue to run for six weeks following the Super Bowl. Its sponsors include the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.