Whatever happened to …

… The Bud Bowl?

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! My Minnesota Vikings didn’t make it but I’ll be watching all the same. I might have a more vested interest if the Detroit Lions had made it but their terrific season ended in the NFL Championship game. Wait until next year…

Super Bowl is the home of the highest priced commercials. This year, according to this article, the price of a 30 second commercial is $7 Million. If you want your product or services in front of a huge audience, this is the place to be. The pricing on Canadian television will be in the neighbourhood of last year’s price of $197,150, I suspect.

The US Commercials are shows in themselves. When we bought our first digital television, the store “threw in” a digital antennae to replace the analogue one on the house and we have the ability to receive all kinds of US stations. That’s where we’ll be watching the game and the commercials. In theory, it’s a better picture since it’s not compressed to run along cable and we don’t have to sit through those Canadian commercials that are run over and over. I don’t bet on football and seeing a promotion over and over isn’t going to convince me.

Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser has been a familiar name to commercials. The biggest favourite on this day were the “Bud Bowl” commercials. Here’s the first one.


The commercials ran for a number of years and you can check them all out on YouTube if you’re interested. Selling beer is big business and it makes me wonder if it’s big enough to run a 4 minute commercial at today’s rates.

Back in the day, it was a big deal. We all glued ourselves to our televison to watch and see who won. My son was in elementary school at the time and did a piece of artwork that was on our fridge for the longest time. For other family members, they wanted to be called when the football was off and the commercial had come on. The fact that a beer commercial could influence someone at that age may well be one of the reasons why it’s not run anymore.

If you replay the commercial above or any of the others, you can see the quality. It was stop motion which was state of the art at the time. I remember doing workshops on creating stop motion movies. It is tedious; the joy wasn’t in the final movie, it actually was creating the storyboard. I can’t help but wonder what they would look like today if an artificial intelligence agent could do the heavy lifting instead of the incremental movements and pictures that needed to be taken.

Advertising is big bucks and how you get your product noticed. I do remember going to a conference once in St. Louis. I have two distinct remembrances – going over the arch with some friends (I didn’t realize you could do that) and the amount of Anheuser-Busch commercials and branding that was visible everywhere.

Great minds came up with the idea of the “Bowl within a Bowl” and it worked. Anheuser-Busch is known for another twist on advertising and apparently it will return this year.

There was an interesting alternative to the four minute Bud Bowl and that was Miller’s one-second commercial.


Quickly, before as my wife calls them the “pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre game shows” start, your thoughts.

  • Do you remember the Bud Bowls?
  • Who played in the Bud Bowl?
  • Will you watch today’s Super Bowl?
  • Who do you predict will win? San Francisco or Kansas City?
  • What will Anheuser-Busch bring back for their commercials this year? – I’ll tell you that my wife loves them
  • From another very successful advertising endeavour, what were the names of the three Budweiser frogs?
  • What do you predict will be the score?
  • Will Taylor Swift make it to cheer on the Kansas City team?
  • This will make sense to Canadians – should Kansas City change its name like the Washington Commanders did?
  • What’s your prediction for the game? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts – serious or otherwise. Please do so in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday morning feature around here. All of the past “Whatever happened to …” posts are available here.

And, if you have an idea for a future post, please pass it along.


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