NEW YORK (AP) — Bud Light doesn't plan to make the customer the butt of its jokes anymore.
Paul Chibe, vice president of U.S. marketing for Anheuser-Busch InBev, said Friday that humor has always been an integral part of the company's Bud Light brand. But in recent years, Chibe conceded that the tone didn't always strike the right note.
"Don't make fun of the guy who's going to buy your beer," he said during a meeting with reporters about the company's future growth plans.
As an example, he later cited a 2004 ad that showed a couple in a horse-drawn carriage. The woman is holding a candle when the horse flips up its tail and passes gas, igniting a flame that singes her hair.
"That's not what you want to do," Chibe said.
There's a lot on the line for Bud Light's ads. Anheuser-Busch is perennially the biggest advertiser during the Super Bowl, the ad industry's biggest stage, as well as other sporting events. And while Bud Light remains the biggest beer in the U.S., sales volume has been slipping in recent years.
Chibe said the latest ads for Bud Light feature "real people" and are "getting there" in terms of hitting the right tone. In one recent ad, for example, a man puzzles over the quinoa burger his girlfriend brought to a tailgating party. But he throws one on the grill anyway in hopes that it will bring his team luck. "What is that, a loofah?" one of his friends asks.
Anheuser-Busch, based in Leuven, Belgium, has not yet announced its plans for the upcoming Super Bowl.