TIME

Here’s How Many Brits Don’t Drink Alcohol

London 2012 - Restaurants And Bars
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images Beer pumps in a pub on March 11, 2011 in London, England.

A new survey finds a surge of teetotallers, particularly among young adults

One in five British adults don’t fancy a pint, or even a drop, according to a national survey released Friday that finds drinking rates in decline across the nation and plummeting among certain age groups.

Young adults accounted for most of the change, according to survey results gathered by the Office for National Statistics. The proportion of teetotallers in this age group surged by 40% since 2005, news which health officials greeted with relief. The study notes that excessive drinking posed a chronic public health risk, causing as many as 7,000 alcohol-related deaths in 2013.

But health experts interviewed by the Guardian dismissed the celebrations as premature. They pointed to demographic shifts, such as a growing number of elderly and Muslim citizens, who tend to drink less than the wider population or abstain from drinking on religious grounds.

TIME Advertising

Death to Adorable Puppies—At Least in Bud Ads

Puppy in a pound
Dan Brandenburg—Getty Images Puppy in a pound

Bud wasn't wrong to move back to marketing beer as beer, no matter what craft purists say

It’s no surprise two beer companies would find themselves in a pissing match. Which is exactly the state of play between MillerCoors and A-B InBev, maker of Budweiser. MillerCoors, as well as the craft beer community, are foaming at the mouth over an advertisement that Bud ran during the Super Bowl.

No, not that one. I mean the advert in which Bud proudly proclaimed its American, mass-market roots, perhaps trying to steal a march from Chrysler’s brilliant “Imported from Detroit” spot of a couple of years ago.

“Budweiser Proudly a Macro Beer,” the ad proclaimed, while the visuals highlighted Bud’s industrial brewing capacity. “It’s not brewed to be fussed over,” it went on. You could feel that slap all the way from Seattle to Williamsburg. According to AdAge, MillerCoors released and tweeted an ad of its own headlined “We believe all beers should be fussed over.” The supposed crybaby craft beer types, being creative of course, responded with wicked parodies of the Bud ad. Good for them, although if you put a glass of Bud in the middle of a dozen craft-brewed lagers, there’s a very good chance the craft aficionados wouldn’t know the difference.

It’s about time that Bud sold beer. Both MillerCoors and Bud have been dropping market share for more than a decade to the microbrew onslaught. That’s why they’ve purchased a couple of craft companies themselves—MillerCoors has Blue Moon Brewing, for instance and A-B In Bev bought Blue Point. MillerCoors is upset because the company still sees itself as part of a beer community that includes the craft brands and doesn’t want to irritate drinkers who are potential customers. Once upon a time, Coors was a cool brand, at least until it went national. The company must still think it is.

In its Super Bowl spot, Bud was trying to reassert its brand’s relevance as a true and acceptable choice for beer drinkers. This is what advertising is supposed to do, isn’t it? Buy us, not them. An ad that’s says “Drink our beer, it’s good enough—and we make a lot of it” makes more sense to me than one of Bud’s other ads. Yeah, that one, the one with the stupid lost puppy that everyone went gaga over.

Bud’s lost puppy ad is unbelievably good if you are selling puppies—and every pet shop owner in America should go out a buy a case of Bud as a thank you—but it’s completely meaningless if you are selling beer.

And Bud and MillerCoors have been having a hard time doing that. Consider the BudLight tagline, The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens. Whatever does that mean? It means that the product isn’t good enough to sell on its merits so you’ve got to come up with something else to sell. With light beer, it’s always been about partying and sex or humor, because let’s face it there’s really not much taste to sell.

A bottle of Bud is still great on a hot summer day but I personally prefer craft beers—cask conditioned traditional ales, to be exact—to our mass market brews. Once upon a time Budweiser was a craft beer, too. Every beer in America was. Bud just happened to beat up the competition up over time, including Pabst Blue Ribbon, a trendy former mass brew that somehow gets a pass.

Why did Bud become No. 1? In part, because it was a better brew; and in part because it was marketed and distributed better than everyone else. This is a company that helped create the modern advertising industry. So I’m raising a glass to Bud for getting back to basics, to blocking and tackling. Let the craft crowd mock and whine all they want. Bud needs to pour it on now, or risk become completely irrelevant in a decade.

TIME Food & Drink

Guinness-Flavored Potato Chips Have Arrived

guinness chips
Carolyn Jenkins / Alamy

Two flavors are available

What do you think of when you think of Irish cuisine? Beer and potatoes? Sterotypes aside, you’re also kinda right, and these two are fantastic.

Shockingly, it’s taken us until 2015 to finally discover: Guinness potato chips. These unique crisps (as chips are called on the other side of the pond) are actually a British product, coming from Burts British Hand Cooked Potato Chips.

Two flavors are available: original Guinness and Guinness Rich Beef Chili. Both get their dark beer essence by being flavored with a “unique blend of roasted barley and hops.” According to Foodbeast, which gave the product a try at the Fancy Food Show, the results were “not bad at all.” They “taste pretty much like the bittersweet stout from Ireland.”

Throw in a bottle of Jameson and a Thin Lizzy album and you’ve pretty much got the whole of Ireland covered.

[h/t Foodiggity]

This article originally appeared on FWx.

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MONEY Food & Drink

The Frothy Backlash to Budweiser Ad Mocking Craft Beer

Budweiser Superbowl ad
Anheuser-Busch

Beer lovers and beer makers of all shapes and sizes are taking issue with the incredibly defensive Budweiser Super Bowl Ad that mocks hipsters, millennials, and people who like beers that actually taste good.

On Sunday, Budweiser aired a commercial during the Super Bowl declaring that it is “PROUDLY A MACRO BEER,” while also mocking “FUSSED OVER” craft beers and the bearded young hipsters who supposedly enjoy “DISSECTING” their taste.

The ad was puzzling—and arguably hypocritical and foolish—in several ways, and casual beer drinkers and brewers all over the beer spectrum have said so. Bud’s attack ad has spurred on many to attack the brand and its owner, the multinational monolith Anheuser-Busch InBev.

One reason the ad struck many as bizarre and nonsensical is that Anheuser-Busch InBev has been buying up craft beer brands left and right. We have an ad that essentially attacks brands the company has spent millions of dollars acquiring. “Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale,” the ad copy read, in between cliché-ridden images of mustachioed men in hipster glasses sniffing effete brews out of fancy glasses. Meanwhile, Seattle’s Elysian Brewing, which AB-InBev purchased less than a month ago, is known for producing beers that would seem to be similarly worthy of poking fun at, such as Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale and Superfuzz Blood Orange. Fortune pointed out that the brewer had, in fact, made a Pecan Peach Pumpkin Amber beer just last year.

Understandably, some of the people who got Elysian off the ground weren’t happy about the Bud ad. “I find it kind of incredible that ABI would be so tone-deaf as to pretty directly (even if unwittingly) call out one of the breweries they have recently acquired, even as that brewery is dealing with the anger of the beer community in reaction to the sale,” Elysian co-founder Dick Cantwell, who opposed the AB-InBev acquisition, explained to the Chicago Tribune in an email earlier this week. “It doesn’t make our job any easier, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about a deal I didn’t even want to happen. It’s made a difficult situation even more painful.”

On social media and in beer forums, Budweiser was being bashed for the ad before the Super Bowl was even over. A Budweiser tweet in response to the criticism claimed, “We’re not anti-craft. Just pro-Bud.”

But that didn’t stop, or even slow, the backlash. On Monday, the world’s other well-known giant beer company, MillerCoors, released a statement on social that obviously took issue with the Bud ad. “We believe each and every style of beer is worth fussing over,” the message stated. “Quality isn’t something that belongs to a single style of beer or a single brewer.” A stamp at the bottom of the message bore the slogan, “We Stand for Beer.” Basically, the MillerCoors proclamation makes the case that the Bud ad wasn’t simply “anti-craft” but anti-beer in general.

Certainly, the ad struck some as an attack on any beer made for tasting good as opposed to one brewed merely for drinking for the sake of drinking. The Atlantic viewed the ad as “a company trying to sell beer by casting Millennial foodies as a pretentious out-group to be mocked.” As a followup Slate post noted wryly, “This is a somewhat odd approach to winning over young drinkers, which, presumably, is AB-InBev’s goal.”

For good measure, folks in the indie craft brewing community have responded to Bud’s mocking with spoofs of their own. In a parody of the Bud commercial, a video from Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Company demonstrates that Budweiser is good for little outside of funneling and perhaps pouring on one’s head:

Another response to the Bud ad, from Hopstories, throws down the gauntlet with some fighting words: “We will savor our hundreds of styles, you keep pushing your one.”

Correction: An earlier version of a video accompanying this article included footage erroneously implying that New Belgium Brewing Company is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. New Belgium Brewing is an independent, 100% employee-owned operation.

TIME Food & Drink

These Are the Beers Americans No Longer Drink

bar-beer
Getty Images

Major beer brands can still point to the last recession as a contributing factor to their current slump, in addition to beer price dynamics

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

American beer sales have been trending downwards in recent years. After peaking at nearly 219 million barrels in 2008, total U.S. shipments have declined since, reaching just 211.7 million barrels in 2013.

The recent drops in beer sales have been especially pronounced at many of the nation’s top brewers. Total shipments of both Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have slumped as several of their major brands have lost substantial market share. According to data provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights, American sales of seven major brands, including Budweiser, declined by more than 20% between 2008 and 2013.

According to Eric Shepard, executive editor at Beer Marketer’s Insights, major beer brands can still point to the last recession as a contributing factor to their current slump. “The people that got hit hardest in the economic recession were your mainstream beer drinkers — lower- to mid-income males, 25 to 34 [years old],” Shepard said.

Another key factor in the weakening sales has been price dynamics. “Beer prices were increased more aggressively over the last five years than wine and spirits,” Shepard said. Many people in the industry believe that, as a result, some customers replaced buying beer with the now relatively less expensive wines and spirits, he explained.

Several other products were also gaining at the expense of big brand-name beers, Shepard noted. While some customers have been moving to wine and spirits, others were switching to imported beer, particularly Mexican imports. Indeed, in the five years through 2013, shipments of Mexican brands Dos Equis and Modelo Especial more-than doubled. Similarly, he added, “Some [drinkers] are moving to craft [beer]. Clearly, there’s been a trade-up in the industry.”

Craft beers have largely bucked the overall downtrend in beer sales. From 2008 to 2013, shipments of craft beer rose by 80.1% to a total of more than 16 million barrels, or 7.6% of the U.S. beer market. While the craft beer category now outsells Budweiser, it remains a relatively niche market. For comparison, the nation’s top-selling brand, Bud Light, shipped 38 million barrels in 2013, accounting for 18% of all beer shipped.

While the last few years have been difficult for many large brewers, they, too, have been introducing new products that combine well-known brand names with new concepts that appeal to consumers. In recent years, Anheuser-Busch has introduced Bud Light Platinum, a higher alcohol content beer with a sweeter flavor; Bud Light Ritas, a margarita-inspired malt beverage; and Shock Top, its own take on craft beer. As of last year, these three brands had captured 2% of the overall beer market.

To identify the seven beers Americans no longer drink, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights for all brands with more than 1 million barrels shipped in 2008. All of these seven brands reported a 20% or more decline in shipments in the five years through 2013.

These are the beers Americans no longer drink.

7. Miller High Life
> Sales loss (2008-2013): -21.2%
> Brewer: MillerCoors
> Barrels shipped (2013): 4,000,000

Shipments of Miller High Life declined by 21.2% between 2008 and 2013, from more than 5 million barrels to 4 million barrels last year. High Life, known for its tagline as “The Champagne of Beers,” has been in production since 1903, although during prohibition the brand was used to market non-alcoholic drinks. While the brand is now over 110 years old, ownership of Miller Brewing has changed hands several times. In 1970, Miller was bought by cigarette maker Philip Morris. In 2002, Philip Morris, now called Altria, sold most of its stake in Miller to South African Breweries, which then changed its name to SABMiller. In 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing merged their U.S. operations in a joint venture called MillerCoors.

6. Miller Lite
> Sales loss (2008-2013): -22.6%
> Brewer: MillerCoors
> Barrels shipped (2013): 13,700,000

Miller Lite states that it is “the original light beer,” having launched the category in 1975. Miller Lite’s ad campaign to introduce Miller Lite to the American consumer included the now famous tagline “Great Taste, Less Filling.” Even after sales declined by 22.6% from 2008 through 2013, Miller Lite remains an industry heavyweight, shipping 13.7 million barrels last year, or 6.5% of all U.S. beer shipments. Yet, Miller Lite remains far smaller than rivals Coors Light and Bud Light, which shipped 18.2 million and 38.1 million, respectively. These two brands alone accounted for 26.6% of the U.S. beer market in 2013.

5. Budweiser
> Sales loss (2008-2013): -27.6%
> Brewer: Anheuser-Busch InBev
> Barrels shipped (2013): 16,000,000

Budweiser is one of the most famous brands in the world. Created in 1876, Budweiser quickly established itself as a national brand through, at the time, innovative production and distribution methods. These included introducing pasteurization to the beer industry as well as refrigerated rail cars. Today, Budweiser is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which was formed after Belgian brewer InBev acquired American beer titan Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion in 2008. The sale of an iconic American brand to a foreign company initially caused some outrage. However, Americans themselves are drinking far less Budweiser than in years past. Shipments of the brand fell nearly 28% between 2008 and 2013.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Companies

These Are America’s Fastest Growing Beer Brands

Full bottles of lager await to be loaded into cases at the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on June 29, 2005.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Full bottles of lager await to be loaded into cases at the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on June 29, 2005.

All of these eight brands reported a 20% or more increase in shipments in the five years through 2013

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

American beer sales have followed a downward trend in recent years. After reaching a peak of 219 million barrels in 2008, total U.S. shipments have declined to just 211.7 million barrels in 2013. Yet, the beer industry is by no means dying. While some beer brands have faltered, others have found tremendous success.

Although some of America’s top brewers own some faltering brands, they also own some of the fastest growing ones. Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), for example, produces Bud Ice, Michelob Ultra, and Stella Artois, all of which shipped considerably more barrels last year than they did in 2008. According to data provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights, American barrel shipments of eight major brands increased by more than 20% between 2008 and 2013. Dos Equis led the beer industry, shipping 116.6% more barrels in 2013 compared to 2008. Modelo Especial, which had the second highest growth rate of barrels shipped over that period, led the industry in nominal terms, shipping nearly 2 million more barrels last year compared to 2008.

According to Eric Shepard, executive editor at Beer Marketer’s Insights, these beers do not share any single explanatory factor. Advertising, for example, is a major component in the success of a brand. However, just as “a lot of the most heavily advertised brands are at the bottom,” Shepard said, brands with little to no advertising are at the among the fastest growers.

As Shepherd explained, some customers have been moving to wine and spirits, while others have been switching to imported beer, particularly Mexican imports. Shipments of Mexican brands Dos Equis and Modelo Especial more than doubled in the five years through 2013. Modelo Especial in particular reflects the growing “power of the Hispanic market,” Shepard said, as it has run little to no english-language advertising.

Craft beers have largely bucked the overall downtrend in beer sales. From 2008 to 2013, shipments of craft beer rose by 80.1% to a total of more than 16 million barrels, or 7.6% of the U.S. beer market. While the craft beer category now outsells Budweiser, it remains a relatively niche market. For comparison, the nation’s top-selling brand, Bud Light, shipped 38 million barrels in 2013, accounting for 18% of all beer shipments.

Several of the fastest-growing beers, however, have clearly benefited from their association with craft brewing. Blue Moon, for instance, is marketed as part of MillerCoors’ craft beer category. In addition, “Blue Moon is riding the wave of American consumers seeking more flavorful beers,” Shepard said.

To identify the eight fastest growing beer brands, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights for all brands with more than 1 million barrels shipped in 2008. All of these eight brands reported a 20% or more increase in shipments in the five years through 2013.

These are the fastest growing beer brands in America.

8. Michelob Ultra
> Sales growth (2008-2013): 21.5%
> Brewer: Anheuser-Busch Inbev
> Barrels shipped (2013): 4,100,000

Michelob Ultra shipments increased 21.5% between 2008 and last year, from 3.37 million barrels in 2008 to 4.10 million in 2013, the eighth largest increase. The Canadian light beer is advertised as low carb, low calorie beer, which may have helped boost its popularity. According to Beer Marketer’s Insights, the light beer category accounts for most of America’s top-selling beers, as well as for 35% of total beer sales nationwide. Yet, as Shepherd stated, Michelob Ultra has succeeded where many other premium light brands have suffered. Michelob Ultra had nearly 2% of the market in 2013.

7. Bud Ice
> Sales growth (2008-2013): 26.9%
> Brewer: Anheuser-Busch InBev
> Barrels shipped (2013): 2,125,000

According to Anheuser-Busch, Bud Ice is produced using an “exclusive ice-brewing process” during which the beer’s temperature is taken below freezing. While reviewers on online beer rating site Beer Advocate rated the beer “awful,” it doesn’t seem Bud Ice is intended to compete with the best-tasting beers. Instead, ice beers generally have higher alcohol content and cost less than other varieties. Bud Ice contains 5.5% alcohol, versus Bud Light’s 4.2% alcohol content. Compared to 2008, Anheuser-Busch shipped 450,000 more barrels of Bud Ice last year, an increase of 26.9%.

6. Yuengling Lager
> Sales growth (2008-2013): 34.2%
> Brewer: D.G. Yuengling & Son
> Barrels shipped (2013): 2,180,000

Based in Pennsylvania, Yuengling, which can trace its roots to 1829, touts being America’s oldest brewery. While several of the fastest growing beers in America are produced by much larger foreign-owned brewers, Yuengling remains U.S.-based and was the largest such brewer in the country as of 2012. Yuengling Lager shipments last year were up 34.2% from 2008, and its market share improved to 1.0% from 0.7%. Unlike several other fast-growing brands, Yuengling has succeeded with relatively little advertising. The recent growth was due to a combination of strengths in its home markets, as well as strong results from recent expansion efforts.

5. PBR
> Sales growth (2008-2013): 71.5%
> Brewer: Pabst Brewing Company
> Barrels shipped (2013): 2,710,000

Pabst Blue Ribbon sales have grown dramatically over the last decade, a trend strangely unassociated with any specific effort from the company. Since the brewer has spent much less on advertising than competitors such as Budweiser, Bud Light, and Coors Light, PBR’s ascendance is still largely inexplicable. To add to the confusion, these beers also all have a fairly similar taste. The New York Times suggested in 2003 that PBR’s customer base has grown precisely because of the lack of major marketing support. Regardless of the reason, the brand seems to have captured a coolness factor that sells beer quite well. Between 2008 and last year, PBR shipments grew 71.5%.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

MONEY Advertising

These Companies Won the Super Bowl Ad Game Without Even Advertising

Foot Locker store inside the South Park Mall in Strongsville, Ohio, U.S.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

What's so surprising about these companies coming out as big winners in terms of Super Bowl marketing? They didn't even run national commercials during the game

This year, companies had to spend $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial aired nationally during the Super Bowl. A TIME panel has graded all the ads, giving some idea as to how each commercial was received by the public and whether it was worth the money.

But TV advertising isn’t the only way a company, brand, or group can “win” the Super Bowl marketing game. Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet when the power went out in New Orleans at the Super Bowl two years ago is probably remembered by more people today than any ad that aired during the game. What’s more, sometimes you can come out a winner because of an unexpected mention of your brand that’s broadcast to the world (think: Etch a Sketch and Big Bird during recent political campaigns), or when the advertising efforts of your competitors backfire.

Here are some of the Super Bowl’s ad winners that didn’t actually advertise:

Foot Locker
Right up until Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Seattle Seahawks pass on the goal line and effectively won the championship for New England, by far the game’s biggest out-of-nowhere hero was Chris Matthews. The Seahawks wide receiver wound up with four receptions, 109 yards, and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, despite the fact that he hadn’t previously caught a pass in the NFL.

Where did Matthews come from? Bizarrely enough, he came from Foot Locker. Technically, Foot Locker did advertise during the Super Bowl—a regional commercial that aired in only a few markets, not nationally—but the retailer got far more attention thanks to Matthews. After Matthews scored a touchdown at the end of the first half, both “Chris Matthews” and “Foot Locker” were trending on Twitter because he was an employee of the sporting goods store before the Seahawks invited him to try out for the team roughly a year ago.

Popeyes
In the same way Matthews’ terrific play on the field raised the profile of Foot Locker, the heroic game-winning play by Butler is generating attention for his former employer, Popeyes Chicken. Butler, an undrafted rookie, worked at Popeyes during what he called a “life-changing” summer in between being kicked out of a community college and playing football with a Division II program at West Alabama.

Malcolm Butler’s amazing play also seems to have given the ’00s comedy “Malcolm in the Middle” a boost, thanks to headline writers writers who couldn’t help themselves.

Craft Beer
Budweiser was widely applauded for having perhaps 2015’s best Super Bowl commercial, featuring one very brave puppy. However, another ad fell a bit flat with many beer lovers.

For years, Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns Budweiser, Bud Light, and many other macro brands, has been trying to revamp its old-fashioned, stale image and stop losing market share to increasingly popular craft brewers. To do so, the world’s biggest brewers have been launching so-called “crafty” beers, which appear to be small brands but are in fact made by multinational companies, and AB-InBev in particular has also resorted to simply buying craft beer labels, including once indie brands like Goose Island, Blue Point, Ten Barrel, and Elysian.

Despite its obvious interest in craft beers, AB-InBev apparently thought it would be wise to mock craft brewers and the stereotypical hipster beer geeks who enjoy them in a defensive Super Bowl ad taking pride in the way Budweiser is not “fussed over” and is instead brewed for drinking rather than “dissecting.” Craft enthusiasts like those at Beer Advocate viewed the Bud ad as a swipe against them, and also as an implicit acknowledgement that the beer giants know craft beer is a major threat. Besides, after being accused of ragging on beer lovers, Budweiser tweeted something of an apology: “We’re not anti-craft. Just pro-Bud.”

Any Insurer Other than Nationwide
A big reason that companies advertise during the Super Bowl is that they want their brands to be remembered and discussed around the country. So in one way, Nationwide achieved its goal by airing the Super Bowl’s most memorable commercial. Yet the reason the ad was so memorable and so widely mentioned on Twitter is that the spot was an unexpected, depressing punch to the gut about preventable child deaths.

“We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions,” a Nationwide statement explained after the commercial aired. “The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance. We want to build awareness of an issue that is near and dear to all of us—the safety and well being of our children.”

Certainly the ad got people talking—only the vast majority of the discussion was about how disturbing and depressing the commercial was. “The intention of that ad was very good, but it’s just playing with fire focusing on an adolescent’s death in the context of the Super Bowl,” Charles Taylor, marketing professor at the Villanova School of Business in Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press, in a story that listed Nationwide as one of Super Bowl advertising’s big losers.

Yes, people are talking about Nationwide. But as the freshly minted hashtag puts it, many are saying that #NationwideKills. Perhaps the campaign helps Nationwide simply because it is so memorable and jarring. Then again, is it wise for any company—even an insurer—to so blatantly associate itself with dead children, tragedy, and heartbreak during what is normally a fun gathering of all ages in American living rooms?

MONEY Advertising

5 Ways This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Will Be Like No Other

Victoria's Secret Angels Superbowl ad
Michael Seto Victoria’s Secret Angels Super Bowl Commercial

This year, a Super Bowl ad costs roughly $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time, up $500,000 from 2014. Price isn't the only way this year's ads will be different.

In a few ways, come Sunday, February 1, Super Bowl viewers can expect some of the same-old, same-old during breaks in the game. Unsurprisingly, there will be ads selling beer and tearjerkers featuring lost puppies (one does both at the same time), and there will be at least one commercial flashing a nearly naked woman walking in public, thanks to perennial provocateur Carl’s Jr. Still, in a few interesting ways this year’s Super Bowl commercials make a break from the past.

There won’t be many car ads.
Auto brands are usually big players in the Super Bowl ad games. Not so much this year. As the Detroit News pointed out, 11 automakers aired commercials during the 2014 Super Bowl. This year, only a handful will be paying up for Super Bowl ad time, with Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, General Motors, and Volkswagen among the regular Super Bowl advertisers who aren’t bothering this year.

The latter is known for some of the best and most shared Super Bowl ads ever (everybody remembers the kid Darth Vader from 2011), yet the automaker released a statement explaining, “For 2015, we have opted to not participate due to other priorities and initiatives across all platforms. We hope to rejoin the Super Bowl when we feel it is appropriate for our brand.”

Analysts have also theorized that automakers are skipping Super Bowl ads this year because the timing doesn’t match up with new vehicle launches, and simply because they’ve blown so much money on these commercials in the past. Over the last decade, automakers have dropped $514.6 million on Super Bowl commercials, nearly 25% of the grand total.

Some other big advertisers are passing too.
Like Dannon, which isn’t advertising even though it’s the Official Yogurt Sponsor of the NFL, and even though it’s developed a reputation for memorable Super Bowl ads like last year’s “Full House” reunion spot. Even for brands that seek close ties with the NFL, the thinking can be that advertising in the Super Bowl simply costs too much, and might not provide enough bang for the buck over the long haul.

“The Super Bowl has a huge audience—but with a huge price tag,” Dannon senior director of public relations Michael Neuwirth said in an interview. “We looked at the most efficient way to build awareness and interest in the product across a longer period of time.”

There will be a bunch of brands you never heard of.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Wix.com (a website building company), Loctite (super glue), or Mophie (smartphone cases), and if you are familiar with the likes of Buzzfeed and The Verge, you probably don’t think of them as Super Bowl advertisers. Nonetheless, all of the above have commercials airing during the Super Bowl, the latter two with regional rather than national ads, but impressive and expensive nonetheless.

When a commercial featuring a fairly obscure brand is shown during the most expensive, most watched TV event of the year, it’s going to cause some puzzlement on the behalf of viewers. And that’s why this strategy might be effective and help a brand make an extra big splash.

In a Wall Street Journal article about the roughly 15 companies advertising for the first time in the Super Bowl this year, Chris Lawrence, director of account management at Fallon, the agency that created the Loctite Super Bowl ad, said, “The fact that there is scrutiny and people paying attention is exactly the point … It’s a chance to make a lot of friends very quickly.”

On the other hand, it’s also a chance to alienate and anger millions of viewers. See the ill-conceived effort by first-time Super Bowl advertiser Groupon in 2011, when the coupon site thought it would be funny to mock environmental and political tragedies around the globe.

The ads won’t only be limited to TV screens.
Five years ago, Pepsi skipped the Super Bowl even though ad time started then at $2.5 million—cheap compared with the $4+ million a 30-second slot runs this year. And the reason Pepsi gave in 2010 for not advertising was a decision to focus instead on a social media campaign.

Was the campaign successful? Well, let’s just say that Pepsi is not only advertising in the 2015 Super Bowl, it’s the official sponsor of the halftime show featuring Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz.

Nonetheless, big brands commit so much time and energy to social media during the game that it’s tantamount to its own parallel category of Super Bowl advertising. Remember Oreo’s memorable Tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl at the New Orleans Super Dome, when the masses were reminded, “You can still dunk in the dark”? That extremely timely and effective message kicked up social media efforts to the next level.

This year, the off-TV battle for eyeballs includes a special live-streamed halftime show on YouTube, in addition to YouTube hosting Ad Blitz, where people can view and vote for their favorite ads that actually did air during the Super Bowl. (Last year’s Ad Blitz resulted in 379 million views on YouTube, according to Businessweek.)

Then there’s Facebook, which is “trying to get Super Bowl money even without the Super Bowl,” Horizon Media vice president Brad Adgate said to AdAge, by selling ads to companies that would be shown to Facebook users who post game-related material. “I think it’s part of their strategy to siphon off as many dollars from television as possible.”

Oh, and the network broadcasting the game on TV, NBC, is also allowing everyone to stream the entire Super Bowl online for free, which will perhaps keep some web surfers away from YouTube and Facebook.

Women will (mostly) keep their clothes on.
Super Bowl commercials have a long history of offending women and being declared downright sexist. And yes, the planned Carl’s Jr. ad featuring a seemingly naked Charlotte McKinney is perhaps one of the raciest and most juvenile Super Bowl ads ever.

But the Carl’s Jr. “all natural” commercial, which will only air in the western U.S. during the Super Bowl, is already getting bashed in certain circles. “It’s like porn meets American Pastime,” branding consultant Erika Napoletano said to USA Today. “It makes NFL cheerleaders—underpaid and underclothed—look like nuns in comparison.”

What’s more, in light of nearly half of Super Bowl viewers being women, it seems to be growing more apparent that advertisers should try to appeal to (rather than offend) the ladies. That’s part of why we’ll see ads featuring Mindy Kaling and paralympian Amy Purdy during the game. Heck, even in the Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl commercial encouraging men to buy lingerie for Valentine’s Day, the models are fully clothed (in football uniforms) rather than showing off skin in bikinis or underwear. Have a look here:

TIME Food & Drink

Crack Open a Cold One in Honor of the Beer Can’s 80th Birthday

Woman holding can of beer
George Marks—Retrofile/Getty Images Woman holding can of beer, circa 1950s.

The first canned beer was sold on Jan. 24, 1935

The beer can is a lowly vessel. It is not the stuff of special treats and celebrating milestones; it is the stuff of chugging, drinking games, tailgates and house parties. It is the only contraption that will work in that practice known as shotgunning.

The craft brewery trend has boosted beer to a higher-brow status in recent years, but the best of it seldom comes in cans. Something about the lightweight container, dense with fizz, just doesn’t convey quality the way that bottles and kegs can.

But when canned beer made its debut in the U.S. 80 years ago this weekend, it was stunningly popular.

Brewers were looking to innovate after Prohibition’s end in 1933, and packaging was one aspect ready for a makeover. It’s not that no one had ever thought to put beer in cans before—American Can Co. had been working on it since 1909, but they couldn’t figure out how to temper the carbonation so the cans didn’t explode from the 80 lbs. per sq. in. of pressure. It took about two decades for them to figure out that lining the steel cans with the same lacquer-like material they used to line kegs would keep them intact.

The folks at American Can knew they had a hit on their hands, but they needed to convince brewers to take a risk on the product, so they installed the necessary equipment for free at at the Gottfried Krueger Brewery. Cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale hit shelves in Richmond, Va. on Jan. 24, 1935—and quickly sold out.

Some new products find success because the consumer likes them better than the old alternative, and some because the producer does. In the case of the beer can, it was both.

On the production end, flat-top cans made it easier to stack and ship a bulky and inexpensive product. On the consumer end, drinkers thought the brew tasted closer to draft beer than bottles, and believed that it was less likely to be “skunked” since light can’t penetrate aluminum the way it can glass. Plus, cans required no deposit and could be discarded rather than returned to the store for a refund. In a focus group of 2,000 loyal Krueger drinkers, beer cans got a 91% approval rating.

Canned beer did so well for one brewing company, Pfeiffer, that later that year it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This was good news for management, as TIME reported in Sept. 1935:

Pfeiffer’s president is William George Breitmeyer, nephew of the German brewmaster who founded the company. Shy and laconic at his desk but jovial away from it, Brewer Breitmeyer has a simple explanation for his own success: “I have only one hobby. I collect friends.” An aid in this hobby is his stock of old German drinking songs, inherited from his uncle.

Sadly, the Trinklieder only went so far: Pfeiffer is now defunct. But thanks to a few alterations over the years (lighter aluminum material plus easy-to-open pop tabs) the beer can lives on and prospers—as of 2012, canned beer sales held 53% of market share, compared to bottled beer’s 37%. Convenience, it seems, trumps looks.

We’ll drink to that.

TIME Food & Drink

These Are the Best Craft Beers to Complement Your Girl Scout Cookies

Thin Mints
John Moore—Getty images Girl Scouts sell cookies as a winter storm moves in on Feb. 8, 2013 in New York City.

Try matching Thin Mints with a Perennial 17 Mint Chocolate Stout

Girl Scout cookie season is right around the corner and for those of you who love to mix your support of the Girl Scouts with drinking, the editors of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine just released their list of “Beer Pairings for Girl Scout Cookies.”

Each cookie type is given two options, often of varying styles, which leaves prospective pairers who can’t find a specific beer with some choices.

For instance, Samoas, with their heavy dose of caramel and coconut, will stand up well to Firestone Walker’s Sucaba, a big barleywine. But for those who want to take things a little lighter, you can try Schlafly’s Biere de Garde – a French-style strong ale that still pairs well with sweetness but is less intense.

Other sensible pairings include the Scouts’ Lemonades cookies with either a 4 Hands Brewing Contact High or Drake’s Hefeweizen — two wheat beers. Although, any wheat beer you love could probably be swapped in here.

And then some suggestions just nail the pairing right on the head, like matching Thin Mints with a Perennial 17 Mint Chocolate Stout.

Head over to the Craft Beer & Brewing website to see all seven pairings.

Unfortunately, the list includes no mention of this year’s new flavor additions – Toffee-tastic, Trios and Rah-Rah Raisin (maybe because they’re still hard to find). For now, you’ll just have to improvise.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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