The Story Behind Bud Light's Dilly Dilly Commercials, According To The Marketing Exec

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Even though more people than ever are viewing their media through advertising-free means, that hasn't stopped advertisers from trying to grab as much attention as possible. And in some cases, all it takes is bringing a really goofy approach to a TV-friendly aesthetic, as Bud Light did with its relatively recent "Dilly Dilly" ads that celebrate the brand with royal gibberish. The bottle-raising commercials have apparently created quite a buzz for the buzz-creating Bud Light, and Anheuser-Busch InBev's Chief Marketing Officer Miguel Patricio has gone on the record explaining the meaning of "Dilly Dilly."

'Dilly Dilly' doesn't mean anything. That's the beauty of it. I think that we all need our moments of nonsense and fun. And I think that 'Dilly Dilly,' in a way, represents that. A lot of people asked me, 'How did you approve that?' To tell you the truth, we never expected this to be so successful. It didn't test that well. We did that ad, actually, because of -- the new season of Game of Thrones coming, but when we tested, it didn't test that well. We said, 'Consumers will get it. And especially with repetition. We have a chance here for this to become big. So, we went against the research and we gave a chance to 'Dilly Dilly' and we are so happy!

For anyone hoping for a deep and esoteric trip down through history's dark corridors, my sympathy goes out to you, because Bud Light's "Dilly Dilly" doesn't mean diddly diddly. And it's kind of silly that one should assume that it would have a specific meaning behind it. Beer commercials are not usually the ads that shine lights on hidden history, even if beer itself can cause history that would need to be hidden.

Even if one's hopes were dashed by that lack of a reveal, it's still quite interesting that "Dilly Dilly" was almost doomed right out of the gate, having not gone over well with the test viewers. That had to feel a bit off to Miguel Patricio and his team, since they specifically chose the Game of Thrones-esque production design to appeal to that hit series' massive fanbase. Perhaps no one in the focus group looked like they gave a shit about who takes the Iron Throne, so the marketing team decided to trust its combined instincts by moving forward with the campaign.

Speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference, Miguel Patricio said he observed the commercial's success in a way that had nothing to do with viewer statistics or beer sales.

I think that one of the proofs of success, nowadays, from a cultural standpoint, is when you go to Amazon and you don't do anything, there are people already selling t-shirts. Two weeks ago, I went on Amazon. There were like ten different types of 'Dilly Dilly' t-shirts. I said, 'Yes! That's it!'

Interestingly, he then said that the company isn't at all interested in going after people bootlegging the phrase, because the execs want to keep getting the "Dilly Dilly" out there however they can. And the upcoming Super Bowl LII in February would be just the kind of event turn "Dilly Dilly" into one of advertising's most memorable spots, considering how much money Bud Light has poured into Super Bowl ad-space in the past.

Until we see if that happens or not, check out the original ad below.

The Super Bowl isn't happening until February 4, but there are lots of other TV shows on the way with other kinds of advertising trying to make its way onto homemade T-shirts. Check out what's hitting soon with our fall TV premiere schedule and our 2018 midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.