When the high-octane chatter of Super Bowl ads gets going on Sunday, the ad debuting Beck’s new beer brand Sapphire will be notable for all the ways in which it’s different. There are no horses, no babies, no fast cars, no animals, and no sexy stars (well, unless you consider a sultry black goldfish as meeting those last two criteria). In short, “Serenade” stands in stark opposition to basically every beer ad you’ve ever seen on the Super Bowl.
Instead, Anheuser-Busch is aiming to create an up-market, sophisticated vibe for its premium brew made of German sapphire hops. “It’s a luxury beer for late-night occasions that embody style,” says Paul Chibe, VP of U.S. Marketing, Anheuser-Busch. “We are marketing and introducing this high-end beer like a fine jewel.”
In “Serenade,” created by agency Mother London with animation from Psyop, a black goldfish is mesmerized by the bottle as the jewel logo glimmers in the light. As the fish encircles the bottle—singing a slow-jam remix of Blackstreet’s ’90s R&B hit “No Diggity” from up-and-coming artist Chet Faker—one is unsure if it’s going to eat the gem or make out with it (a subsequent scene where the bottle tips and streams of golden goldfish flow forward substantiates that latter thought).
“The bottle is the star of the spot,” says Chibe.
While this spot is unlike anything you might expect form Anheuser-Busch on the big game, it’s in keeping with the company’s rollout strategy for Sapphire. The beer was first launched on New Year’s Eve at high-end parties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, and A-B has also created pop-up “jewelry stores” in Beverly Hills, Miami’s South Beach, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, and the brand hosted a Super Bowl celebration in New York’s SoHo, featuring a performance by Chet Faker. A-B is also planning a Beck’s YouTube takeover in advance of the big game.
While it remains to be seen how throngs of football-loving beer drinkers will respond to the understated and considerably down-tempo tone of the spot (and we wonder whether Beck’s target audience of ambitious beer drinkers will be paying the right amount of attention), we do agree that “Serenade” is pretty much guaranteed to win the night’s earworm category. “We’re excited about this Super Bowl spot and the role music will play in reaching viewers,” says Chibe. “We think people will be singing “No Diggity” the rest of the night.”