“Dilly dilly!” You can’t escape the ubiquitous catchphrase from Bud Light’s current ad campaign.
We’re keeping track of the “dilly dilly” commercials during the Super Bowl broadcast. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, we’ve had two.
The commercials are set in some sort of Game of Thrones-esque universe and feature people saying the same insipid phrase over and over again. Bud Light even made a special version for the underdog Eagles after they secured their bid to face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
You’ll be hearing it even more on Thursday when the Eagles celebrate their Super Bowl win with a parade through the city. Bud Light is sponsoring the parade and handing out free beer to crazed Eagles fans, thanks to a preseason promise from Philly tackle Lane Johnson. (But it’s only ONE free beer per person).
“Dilly dilly” seems to be this fictional world’s version of “cheers,” and it’s generally connected to an actor giving someone some Bud Light.
It kind of makes sense. Let’s go to the dictionary: Merriam-Webster defines the word “dilly” as meaning something “that is remarkable or outstanding.” So if you love Bud Light — let’s all just suspend our disbelief and act like that’s a thing that’s actually possible in real life — this seems like an OK way to react to someone bringing you a beer that tastes like water that just happens to be 4.3 percent alcohol by volume.
The phrase first entered the national consciousness in August, when the original commercial in this series, entitled “Banquet,” aired.
In the spot, loyal subjects come to the king bearing gifts. Those gifts are increasingly larger quantities of Bud Light. The subjects are deemed “true friends of the crown” and everyone cheers them with cries of “dilly dilly” — except for the last guy, who brings the king a “spiced honey mead wine that I’ve really been into lately.”
Well, that doesn’t sound like Bud Light, and the king isn’t having any of it. The gentleman who was impudent enough to bring some kind of craft brew to the party instead of Bud Light is escorted directly to the Pit of Misery at the king’s command. The crowd approves of that turn of events, as they cheer the king’s proclamation with yet another “Dilly dilly!”
So that’s why your dad and Susan from accounting and that guy from your fantasy league just won’t stop saying “dilly dilly.” But what does this maddeningly overused phrase really mean, according to the folks behind the Bud Light campaign?
The short answer is: Not a damn thing.
Miguel Patricio, the chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch, told Business Insider’s Graham Flanagan that it can mean whatever you want it to mean.
“‘Dilly dilly’ doesn’t mean anything. That’s the beauty of it,” Patricio said. “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?”
The ad didn’t test well with focus groups, according to Patricio, so it’s a fair question. The concept of the ad was based loosely around the popularity of Game of Thrones, and even though people didn’t seem to love it in the test phase, Anheuser-Busch went ahead anyway.
“We said, ‘Consumers will get it,’” Patricio said.
And people apparently do get it. This thing has gone all the way viral. Bud Light shared with SB Nation that there have been over half a million mentions of “dilly dilly” on Twitter since the first spot launched.
Anheuser-Busch loves the popularity — even when it comes to unlicensed merchandise.
“We want everybody to ‘dilly dilly’ in their life, so no problem,” Patricio said.
Everybody does seem to be dilly dillying. You can even place a prop bet on how many times the word “dilly” shows up during the Super Bowl LII broadcast. The over is 12.5, and the line is -130. Bear in mind that this particular prop bet centers around the word being used just once instead of the double usage of the catchphrase.
Bud Light is a major player in the Super Bowl commercials realm every year. Last year’s was a touching tribute to its co-founder, Adolphus Busch, and what it took to establish what is now a cornerstone of American brewing as an immigrant from Germany. Their Super Bowl 50 ad was a lighthearted fake campaign ad with comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen.
This year, unsurprisingly, it’s “dilly dilly.”