After one-year absence, Budweiser is back in the Super Bowl commercial game as ad rally continues

·2 min read

With inventory all but sold out and rates hitting a record $6.5 million for a 30-second spot, Super Bowl advertising was already well on its way to a comeback after a relatively flat 2021.

And now one of the icons of big-game advertising — Budweiser — is back in the mix.

Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday that after a one-year absence, it is returning to the Super Bowl ad mix, teasing its return with a brief video featuring its signature Clydesdales.

The brand that brought the Bud Bowl, talking frogs and Spuds McKenzie into the zeitgeist sat out the 2021 Super Bowl, breaking a 37-year streak of big-game advertising. That game marked a rare flattening of ad rates — a mere $5.5 million, same as 2020 — as the country was locked in the throes of a winter COVID-19 surge.

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Yet as NBC hit its mark of a $6.5 million ask and inventory all but filled up, industry experts predicted a return to frivolity in 2022 after a far heavier tone last year.

Budweiser seems to affirm this concept, getting back in the game and snapping up one of NBC's final units that it holds back until close to game time.

The tease centers the Clydesdales, who still tour stadiums coast-to-coast to extend the Bud brand. Beyond that? NBC Universal ad sales and partnerships president Jay Lovinger anticipates the ad class as a whole will loosen up.

"You’re going to see a slightly lighter tone," says Lovinger, "and I think the country’s ready for it."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Budweiser, Clydesdales return to Super Bowl Sunday commercial game