Posted Friday, January 26, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his MyAJC.com Radio & TV Talk blog
Over the years, Budweiser has built a reputation for memorable Super Bowl ads, ranging from clever to funny, from heartwarming to inspirational. The company had a whopping 14 entrants in USA Today's top 50 most popular ads of all time in 2016, by far the most of any company.
One entrant for the upcoming 52nd Super Bowl Feb. 4 will fall in the inspirational/heartwarming category and features the Cartersville Budweiser brewery and its actual employees.
After a spate of hurricanes devastated areas in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last fall, the Budweiser marketing department wanted to show how the company helps those in need by manufacturing and distributing water in special cans.
"This was a good moment to celebrate our employees who are there when communities need them most," said Ricardo Marques, vice president of marketing for Budweiser. "We wanted to show the people behind Budweiser on the Super Bowl stage, the biggest stage in the country, to tell that story."
In a re-enactment shot last November, the ad dubbed "Stand By You" features the Cartersville brewery general manager Kevin Fahrenkrog waking up in the middle of the night to news of an impending disastrous storm. He kisses his wife Cathy and drives to the plant. He directs his staff to stop beer canning and switches over to water. While employees work their magic, Skylar Grey sings a cover of Ben E. King's classic tune "Stand By Me."
As a truck leaves the plant, the words "TEXAS," "FLORIDA," "PUERTO RICO" and "CALIFORNIA," all references to recent disasters. It closes with a can of Bud with the word "America" on it and the lines "Whenever You Need Us... We'll Stand By You."
Marques said he hopes the message will resonate with the tens of millions who will watch it. "It's more than a beautiful piece of film," he said. "It's a real story with real people, a story with a purpose that goes beyond entertaining people."
Fahrenkrog, who has worked with Budweiser for 29 years and at the Cartersville plant for the past two, said he is no actor but enjoyed the process. "It was a fun experience for the entire brewery team," he said. "We've never had a commercial shot here before. I think everyone was happy to be part of the story. It's kind of overwhelming. I'm very honored as a Bud man. It's very very humbling."
Bill Bradley, vice president for community affairs for Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser's parent company, said the company has been making water available for disasters for three decades. The Cartersville plant, which opened in 1993 right off I-75 about 50 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, has been canning water for the past 20 years, using Lake Allatoona as its source. (The Fort Collins, Col. plant will begin producing emergency water this year as well to enable the company to distribute water quicker, especially west of the Mississippi.)
"We have really refined the process over the years," Bradley said. "We store water so we can be as responsive as possible. We partner with the American Red Cross. We rely on them for disaster relief expertise."
The Cartersville brewery, one of a dozen major Anheuser-Busch breweries nationwide, employs 550 people and runs 24/7 in three daily shifts creating 21 different brands of beer including the signature Budweiser and Bud Light. It's a whopping one million square feet, covering raw material storage, the brewing process, canning, packaging and shipping.