Michelob ULTRA - Breathe (2016) :30 (USA)

Michelob Ultra is one of four Anheuser-Busch brands advertising during the Super Bowl 50, this is the brands return to the bowl after a six year hiatus (they had Lance drinking it in 2010). Since Michelob Ultra is low in calories, it can position itself as the beer treat for gym-nuts, sports people and yoga fans. The treat you actually can have without ruining all that workout you just put in. Not a bad position to own, considering how many people are working out to stay both healthy and slim, and how many beers (wheat beer I'm looking at you) have the magical ability to add a spare tyre on your belly after just one sip. Why it's the position that new campaign from Coors seems to want to own, which makes no sense in their case as that's not a low-cal beer, and frankly it looks like the ad agency pitch film made it to air. In "breathe" the idea is simple, and fits the product, which works a million times better. Creatives take note, this is how you do a good ad.

Title: "Breathe"

Client: Anhueser-Busch
Brand: Michelob Ultra
VP, Premium Brands: Jorn Socquet
VP, Marketing: Edison Yu
Senior Director: Joe Lennon

Agency: FCB Chicago
Chief Creative Officer – Todd Tilford
Creative Director - Josh Hurley
Creative Director - Andy Kohman
Chief Strategy Officer – John Kenny
VP, Strategy Director – Tom Hehir
Senior Producer – Chris Wickman
Manager of Business Affairs – Kelly Lenthe
SVP Group Management Director - Melanie Hellenga

Production Company: Wondros
Director – Antoine Fuqua
Chief Creative Officer - Anne-Marie Mackay
Executive Producer – Jeremy Barrett
Executive Producer – Catherine Finkenstaedt
Producer – Karen Chen

Post Production: Lord + Thomas
Executive Producer – Rene Steinkellner
Producer – Clare Deady
Editor – Steve Immer
Assistant Editor – Ilsa Misamore
Colorist – Roman Mendez
Online Editor – Justin Orr
Sound Engineer – Jason Ryan

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Dabitch's picture

Maybe I should add "strategists take note, this is why you should stay in your strategy corner and leave the actual commercial to the creatives"

David Felton's picture

This is an bonkers ad, and it's terrible. Selling a beer through alignment with working out and exercise makes no sense whatsoever. Who drinks a beer and thinks "Great, this is a low calorie beer, so my workout isn't going to waste." Has that thought ever genuinely been had in the history of mankind?

Like you say, this is why strategists should stay the hell away from the creative process. Because this only makes sense on paper, in the middle of a 200 slide deck.

Dabitch's picture

We couldn't disagree more. This ad is a solid creative idea based on a true insight (Hi! I drink beer and work out the thought has crossed my mind!) - whereas the Coors dreck is a strategist's pitch film on air instead of a crystal clear creative execution of the proposition.

David Felton's picture

This has to be a matter of personal taste, because while I'm not in love with Coors Light - Whatever Your Mountain, I find it to be a solid and persuasive piece of advertising communication.

For me, the concept of 'climbing your mountain' (whatever that might be), is a great analogy for personal development, and there's a clear link to the product ... "Our 'mountain' is brewing the world's most refreshing beer".

Here, I see no link, I see a poor analogy, and a generally uninspiring message. It doesn't make me want to go to the gym or open a bottle of beer. It leaves me unaffected.

kidsleepy's picture

I also have to disagree. "climb your mountain, (whatever that might be)" is the first issue because it leaves everything open to interpretation. The second point "out mountain is brewing the world's most refreshing beer." Which is it? Sounds like two ideas in one.
And except for Coors coming from mountain water (a fact I highly doubt will move a lot of millennials to order it by the keg) that anthem pitch rip ad could be for any brand. It could be for Nike or footlocker or a retirement pension.

Michelob is telling me this is a post-workout beer you can drink without feeling like you blew your workout. While you may not find the message inspiring, it's an actual benefit to a product which is the whole point of advertising.

I'm not saying this is the most compelling super bowl spot ever. What I am saying though is that, I am more apt to believe "a beer with fewer calories won't make me put on pounds I'm trying to keep off."

"A beer brewed in Colorado will help me remove emotional/psychological mountains?" Only if I'm drunk enough.

David Felton's picture

Maybe this says more about my black and white thinking than anything, but I presume most people who are regularly hitting the gym aren't drinking alcohol because of the negative health implications.

I'm for one jealous of those who can have a 6-pack AND a 6-pack, because I'm sure as hell not one of them. I just got serious about my diet, joined a gym and started using the MyFitnessPal app, so I can tell you that 95 calories is like 100g of lean chicken breast... or we learn, one Michelob beer.

I guess if we believe the strategy 'those who are serious about health also want to drink' then this is a fair creative interpretation of that. But wouldn't they go for a glass or two of red wine - high in antioxidants and good for your heart!

Jorge Inchaurregui's picture

I see their insight. People who work out hard may want to have a beer as well, a low-calorie beer that won't mess up their workouts would be the ideal choice. Seems like american beers are trying to look "badass" in the eyes of their consumers.

Also, beer does hydrate you faster than water. =P

Dabitch's picture


noelyeo's picture

This sorta reminds me of that ill-fated KFC commercial from BBH London that says it's healthy coz it has less carbs. Maybe I imagined it coz I can't find a link to that right now.

Dabitch's picture

Oh yes, the "If you're going low-carb, high-protein, go KFC". You know they started that strategy back in 2003 when the wife brought home a bucket a chicken, which was pulled. I dunno if you meant that one, but it was the first proper health claim I recall.

noelyeo's picture

I might have seen something later, although it's the same logic. Mmmmm... KFC.

David Felton's picture

If anyone is talking about classic KFC ads, there's one that stands above all.

The. Chicken. Zinger.


Dabitch's picture

hahaha, omg I had forgotten about that one. So many complaints for so little.