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By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

February 2, 2023 | 7 min read

The AB InBev-owned beer brand is placing its bets on golf with two in-game ads, an apparel collection with Devereux Golf and new partnerships with Netflix and Instacart.

Michelob Ultra, the popular light beer owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, today unveiled the details of its star-studded Super Bowl campaign.

The beer brand will air a 60-second spot starring a handful of A-list celebrity athletes – including tennis legend Serena Williams, ex-NFLer Tony Romo, US women’s national soccer team icon Alex Morgan, Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez and WNBA powerhouse Nneka Ogwumike – alongside TV series Succession actor Brian Cox.

The hero spot, ‘New Members Day’, is inspired by Harold Ramis’ 1980 film Caddyshack. In a new spin on the old classic, Serena Williams battles Brian Cox on the links at the fictional Bushwood Country Club, ultimately nailing a perfect putt on the 18th hole, with a little help from Michelob Ultra. Throughout the minute-long film, legendary faces from sports make cheeky appearances, enjoying the showdown and sipping on Michelob Ultra.

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The spot stars an equal number of female and male athletes, which represents part of the brand’s commitment to furthering gender equality in sports. In August of 2021, Michelob Ultra pledged to spend $100m over the course of five years to increase the visibility of women’s sports and female athletes.

And this year, Michelob is going all in on golf specifically. It’s not a bad bet, considering that data from the National Golf Foundation suggests that the pandemic spurred a surge in the sport’s popularity; in 2020 and 2021, total play increased by upwards of 5%.

“Golf is going through an exciting transformation to become more inclusive and more joyful, which perfectly aligns with Michelob Ultra’s point of view and as such, ended up serving as inspiration for our campaign this year,” said Ricardo Marques, the brand’s vice-president of marketing, in a statement.

In addition to its Caddyshack-inspired hero spot, the brand is also airing a 30-second joint ad with Netflix which, with the help of PGA mainstay Rickie Fowler, Alex Morgan and Tony Romo, promotes the forthcoming Netflix golf docuseries Full Swing. The spot is interactive, too: it will feature a QR code that viewers can scan for early access to the first episode of the new series, which will go live immediately after the big game.

“Full Swing chronicles a pivotal moment in golf and we can’t wait for our fans to immerse themselves into the series and the lives of these talented athletes,” said Magno Herran, vice-president of marketing partnerships at Netflix, in a statement today.

The partnership with Michelob Ultra is a natural fit for Netflix, according to Herran. “Our members are always looking for unique ways to experience their favorite show or film and partnering with Michelob Ultra is an incredible way to bring the two brands together to share the joy of the game,” she said.

Furthermore, the campaign includes a collaboration with Devereux Golf on a new apparel collection. The collection sees colorful polos, sweater vests, hats, zip-ups and a range of other lifestyle and golf clothing items emblazoned with contemporary logos.

To get fans buying beers ahead of the Big Game, Michelob Ultra is also deploying Anheuser-Busch’s first-ever shoppable integrated campaign. A series of TV ads created in conjunction with Instacart will air before the game on February 12, encouraging fans to stock up on Michelob Ultra and other viewing party necessities via shoppable email, social media and mobile media placements.

“Michelob Ultra is a clear fan favorite and the number one most-purchased beer on Instacart for the last nine months,” said Instacart’s chief marketer Laura Jones in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Michelob Ultra for our first major, cross-channel, co-marketing campaign during the NFL playoffs to help consumers stock up on Michelob Ultra and other game day essentials, which can be delivered right to their doorsteps in as fast as one hour.”

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This year, Marques said in a statement, Michelob Ultra is taking a new approach – it’s aiming to move “beyond entertaining.” As he put it: “We’re looking to engage our audience with an approach that combines creativity, commercial integration and new partnerships; we're incredibly excited.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev this year relinquished its exclusive alcohol advertising rights for the Super Bowl – a monopoly it had established with the NFL some three decades ago. Analysts have said that the move isn’t likely to seriously hurt the beer behemoth – especially considering the increasing mileage that brands are getting in pre- and post-game marketing efforts as the Super Bowl becomes more of a season than a sporting event. Nonetheless, Anheuser-Busch’s decision to give up exclusivity has invited a flood of competitors into the field. Molson Coors, Heineken and Rémy Cointreau are all planning in-game appearances.

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