Brand Strategy, Creative Efficacy

Classic Case: How One Beer Brand Scored a Touchdown Against the Competition - Part Two

In the first part of our two-part classic case study we go back to some of our early work for powerful lessons, specifically how markedly different brands from within a category can perform on catalyzing the emotions driving choice. In part one Forethought revealed in 2011 that Bud Light was the top performing brand on the key emotional drivers of light beer purchase, including Happiness – and now we consider did their Super Bowl advertising amplify the brand’s performance on the emotions driving choice? Or did it damage it?

Partnering with DDB NYC, we examined the emotional impact of the Bud Light brand and effectiveness of its Super Bowl ad campaign. To do this Forethought used our patented Prophecy Thoughts and Feelings® methodology to model the rational drivers of category choice versus the emotional drivers - and which brands performed best on these drivers. Ahead of its competitors Miller Lite and Coors Light, Bud Light was the best performing brand across the most important emotions driving category choice– Happiness, Surprise and Pride.

Forethought used our Prophecy Thoughts & Feelings to also test the effectiveness of Bud Light’s 2011 Superbowl commercial: DDB produced the ‘Bud Light - Severance Package’ TV Commercial for the Super Bowl (


Exhibit A: 'Severance Package' Bud Light 2011

Forethought examined the data by gender to consider how to support optimizing the media placement.

The following exhibits shows the performance of the brand and the performance of the TV Commercial for regular drinkers of light beer split by male and female regular drinkers of light beer.

Without knowing the specific target audience for this campaign, Forethought examined the data by make and female to consider how to support optimising the media placement.

Feelings2 002

Exhibit B: Emotional Performance of Bud Light Brand v Super Bowl TVC

DDB’s Bud Light commercial was effective in eliciting the emotion driving choice with males. So in effect it amplified Bud Light’s choice driving performance for males.

The strong performance of the creative suggested the spot would perform best aired in content targeting a mainly male audience. Overall, DDB had executed a TV Commercial that was very effective in eliciting the right emotions to drive choice with this market.

The relative importance of the discrete emotions over rational drivers in advertising varies by category, brand and segment. Emotion plays a main role for a family choosing a new holiday destination for example, whereas; the decision to top-up your pre-paid cell phone credit is largely rational.


Even on an advertising stage as big as the Super Bowl - for a campaign to outperform the competition on driving choice the creative brief and execution should be built on evidence of both rational and emotional drivers of category choice coupled with an understanding of how well the brand is performing against competitors. While Super Bowl advertising is famously leveraged by marketers to drive brand awareness in an entertaining way. This classic case study demonstrates that when advertisers balance the rational reason to believe and have evidence on the right emotion to activate to trigger consumer choice, then brands can use advertising very effectively to put significant distance between themselves and competitors on the choice drivers.

Forethought’s Prophecy Thoughts & Feelings® methodology models the rational vs emotions choice drivers to provide marketers with the evidence to produce communications that drive sales performance and build brands, and provides a tracking mechanism to optimise ongoing performance.

Contact Forethought today to discuss how we can help examine your brand and/or the effectiveness of your advertising.

For more information on this research or any enquiries contact:

Jen Hanson | VP, Client Development | [email protected] | +1 415 987 8260

Tim O’Brien | Senior VP, Consulting | timothy.o’[email protected] | +1 917 825 3503


Forethought is a marketing advisory, strategy and analytics firm supporting clients to drive in-market outcomes via brand, communications, customer experience and offer optimization. Our team partner with leading brands in North America and the Asia Pacific region from offices in New York and Melbourne, Australia. Forethought works with organizations in the B2B and B2C space, including Telecommunications, Aviation, Logistics, Banking, Insurance, Wealth, Retail, Allied Health, Pharmaceutical, Education, Property, Digital, Law, Professional Services and Consumer Goods.

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