From the earliest days of the Super Bowl commercials, Budweiser ads have lit up the big game with memorable sights and sounds, from their famous Clydesdale horse team to the irresistible jingles, “Here Comes the King,” and “When You Say Budweiser, You’ve Said It All.”
As the Super Bowl got supersized and super-sophisticated in the ensuing decades, prompting advertisers to keep pace with the mammoth audience and potential for pop culture history making, the King of Beers led the charge with the best, funniest, most movie, and all-around most memorable big-ticket commercials.
Expect this year’s Super Bowl to be no different. In the meantime, let’s look back now at the 20 best Bud and Bud Light Super Bowl commercials.
Bud Bowl I: Bud vs. Bud Light (1989)
The guzzle-inducing granddaddy of them all, the original Bud Bowl so beguiled Super Bowl audiences that, over the course of its eight year run, the annual stop-motion animated games became major events in and of themselves, with Vegas taking gambling action on who’d win.
“Up for Whatever” (2014)
Bud Light’s guerilla-style reality commercial showcases a girl approaching an unsuspecting dude named Ian in a bar, and offering him a free Bud Light, as long as he’s “up for whatever comes next.” What comes next, then, includes getting made over by Minka Kelly, being serenaded by DJ Reggie Watts, riding an elevator with Don Cheadle and a llama, and playing ping pong against a bewigged Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Here Comes the King” (1971)
The original Super Bowl appearance of Budweiser’s magnificent Clydesdale horse team pulling an old-fashioned beer wagon became instantly iconic. A thirsty human race was never the same again. Nor were horses.
“Bud Frogs” (1995)
Three frogs idly plop alongside one another on lily pads. Behind them glows a neon Budweiser sign. The first croaks, “Bud.” The next responds, “Wise.” The last one then blurts, “Errrr.” The ad caught on so fast it generated a series of follow-ups involving lizards, weasals, and other swamp life, making the Bud Bog the coolest TV commercial habitat of the 1990s.
To the tune of “Landslide” by Fleetwood Man, “Brotherhood” depicts the lifelong relationship between a Clydesdale foal and his trainer who raises him to join the Bud team. Years, later the pair are reunited on a street following a parade, and their isn’t a beer anywhere in the vicinity that isn’t now spiked with teardrops.
Bud perfectly captured the phenomenon of guys sharing a secret language among their friends with “Wazzzup!”, and also generated a catchphrase that, impressively, has never really gone away.
“Spuds Mackenzie” (1987)
Bud Light’s “original party animal,” Spuds Mackenzie was a stylish American bull terrier with a penchant for sunglasses, skateboards, flashy clothes, sexy human female companions, and turning anywhere he went into an instant all-time-great beer bash. Here’s where the Super Bowl introduced the immediate ’80s pop culture staple.
“Sleigh Ride” (2004)
A romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride turns into a great gaseous sight gag. A would-be Romeo offers the lady in the sleigh beside him a Bud Lite by candlelight, only to have a the flatulent horse in front of them raise its tail and let loose, turning the candle into a flamethrower.
“I Love You, Man” (1995)
Bud Light’s great spoof of heartfelt guy-to-guy ads featuring an adult son welling up as he expresses affection to his older dad while they’re both fishing, with junior nearly breaking down as he says, “I love you, man.” Hilariously, Pops doesn’t fall for it.
“Clydesdale Football” (1996)
The Budweiser Clydesdales prove they’re not just a wagon-drawing team, they’re also top notch squad of gridiron grapplers as they improvise their own football scrimmage in an open field.
“Puppy Love” (2014)
While Passenger’s “Only Love Her When You Let Her Go” gently plays, a Golden Retriever puppy repeatedly sneaks into a stable where he bonds with a special horse. By the end, no one can separate the pair, and you’re likely to find yourself claiming there’s nacho dust in your eye.
“Fist Bumps Are So Last Year” (2007)
The cultural evolution of fist bumps into something, let us say, “more aggressive” gets uproariously documented by Bud Light.
Using no words and airing only once, Budweiser’s tribute to the fallen of 9/11 and the dignity of our ongoing liberty hits a perfect, unforgettably powerful note.
“Magic Fridge” (2004)
One crafty Super Bowl party host’s solution to his pals drinking all his Bud Light involves a revolving wall that hides his refrigerator. What he didn’t count on is what provides the spot’s “sucks-to-be-you/great-to-be-them” punchline.
Those ever-more-clever Budweiser Clydesdales amuse themselves in a winter setting by mounting a mirthful snowball fight. Everybody wins.
“Cedric Date” (2001)
Cedric the Entertainer attempts to play it cool when he takes a hottie home to share some Bud Light. Not surprisingly, and highly amusingly, he doesn’t quite pull it off.
“No Pets Allowed” (2002)
A thirsty dude walking his black-haired mop dog passes a bar boasting of cold Bud Light inside, as well as “No Pets Allowed” sign. A solution arises when the guy puts the pooch atop his head and talks in Rasta patois so that he can enjoy the beer and his pet can enjoy the air conditioning from a lofty vantage point.
“Yelling Like a Coach, Taking It Like a Ref” (2004)
The origin of how football officials can withstand explosive verbal bombast from enraged coaches gets exposed in one of the ads that most definitely lives up to the campaign, “Budweiser—True.”
“Wheel Suck!” (2006)
Cavemen suffer and strain as they carry a stone crate of Bud Light to a party atop a faraway mountain. After one of their pals busts out his new invention—the wheel—the Cro-mag crew puts it to work, but not quite as it might best serve them. Hence the final declaration: “Wheel suck!”