Bud Light’s ‘Real Men of Genius’ returns as ‘Internet Heroes of Genius’ for digital age

The ‘Real Men of Genius’ campaign by Bud Light was one of the longest-running ad campaigns of all time. Though mostly on radio, it hit the TV airwaves as well and connected through its deft balance of humor and message, as well as its ability to stay fresh while touting men and their inventions like the rolling cooler and tiny dog clothing.

Bud Light is bringing the concept back for a new generation, one more likely to see and hear ads online than on the radio. ‘Internet Heroes of Genius’ brings a twist to the concept for the modern age, with seven spots promoting the people that make the internet a place to spend time. With tongue firmly in cheek, Bud Light pays musical tribute to ‘heroes’ like the Online Encyclopedia Hero, Snapchat Lens Hero, Person That Still Uses Middle School Email Hero and others.

The original ‘Real Men of Genius’ connected in part through the ideas of DDB Chicago’s Mark Gross, Bob Winter and Bill Cimino, but also the delivery of voice-over pro Peter Stacker and singer Dave Bickler, of Survivor, who gave over-the-top takes on each man of genius.

The current campaign follows the same format, but instead of DDB, the agency is Red, part of Endeavor Global Marketing, and instead of Stacker and Bickler it’s singer Brandon Beilis and voice-over artist Dave Steele. But for those who remember the original, it will bring a bit of nostalgia to the forefront.

The Drum talked with Conor Mason, Bud Light’s digital director, about the revival of the campaign.

“We are always looking to engage and have fun with consumers online in unique ways and sometimes that might mean tapping into the archives. Over the years, we’ve received tons of requests from fans to bring back the spots for years and we want to continue to engage with consumers in interesting ways from a digital standpoint and that’s exactly what this is,” he said.

“While this might be inspired by an iconic, older Bud Light campaign, it is very much optimized for today’s consumer. In the same way we highlighted everyday heroes years ago, we’re doing the same thing now, just optimized for the digital age. We like to think that these heroes are relatable and many of us know one or all of them in some way and that’s what makes these spots great.”

He noted that Bud Light is a brand that likes to have fun and be humorous, which he says the new take on the iconic campaign does. But he stated that reviving the campaign was meant to elicit some nostalgia, bringing back not only those who were familiar with it, but also something that would resonate with the new generation that may have missed it.

In finding new ‘heroes’ to honor the brand took to social media for the new generation that could be recognized and talked about.

“Many of these heroes were born out of social listening. For example, we saw a lot of conversation around middle school emails and video streaming login sharers, so that helped validate some of our creative. We also have some scripts that really lean into specific communities like ‘Person Who Sorts By New,’ which is tailored specifically for Reddit users. People today spend so much time on the internet and in many ways embody some of the people we’re honoring and we think that’s why this campaign will resonate,” said Mason.

Taking it a step further, the creative team spent time in a war room with the singer doing one-to-one responses with consumers on social based off tweets, and fans are encouraged to tweet Bud Light for a chance at a custom salute.

The campaign will live in the digital realm, with no plans to be on terrestrial radio, on Bud Light social platforms, as well as on internet streaming radio like Spotify and Pandora.

See and hear the spots by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

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