What The Actors Are Singing In That Busch Commercial

The latest Super Bowl ad from Busch Beer is a reminder that sometimes opening up memories of the past can be refreshing. In the commercial, two hikers can be seen taking a rest in front of a beautiful mountain landscape. As the two take in the postcard-like view, one of them hands the other a can of beer and says, "Crack open a Busch Light, the mountains start singing." Naturally, the friend abides, as do the mountains, which suddenly morph into human figures that erupt into a tune that may sound familiar to audiences in their thirties and up. In fact, some people may have even noticed themselves singing along to the lyrics with the actors. "It's cold and it's smooth, it's waiting for you." Why is that so familiar?

That's because it isn't exactly a new song. Those lyrics are from the original Busch jingle, "Head for the Mountains," that played over commercials throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Originally sung by the late folk singer Hoyt Axton in a booming baritone voice and eventually joined by a full choir, the catchy tune exudes the same campfire singalong vibes as Americana classics like "Wagon Wheel," beckoning viewers to "C'mon along, head for the mountains, the mountains of Busch Beer."

Although the version heard in this 2022 ad is an updated rendition, the fact that the song is essentially the same as the one from the 1980s (and includes a Kenny G sax solo), might give the whole commercial a "fun throwback" feel.

'Head for the Mountains of Busch!' was a targeted marketing campaign

While the "Head for the Mountains" sounds like it could have been plucked straight from a John Denver album, the story of how it came to be was actually more strategic. Author and former brand planning director James C. Crimmins writes in his book "7 Secrets of Persuasion" that Busch decided to adopt the mountain imagery in an effort to compete with Colorado-based beer brand Coors, which was known for its brew made with "mountain spring water" and at the time, expanding its distribution. 

The goal was to get U.S. consumers to associate Busch with "cold mountain refreshment" in order to have a leg up on the competition. As a result, the beer maker made changes to the brand, swapping out the very European Alps on the label for the American Rockies. The company doubled down on this effort by producing commercials that featured cowboys on horseback riding off toward snow-capped peaks intercut with shots of them sipping cold beer after a day of working on the ranch.

The song, in turn, was created in 1979 to complement this aesthetic, with the lyrics stemming from August Busch's insistence on the ad containing the slogan "head for the mountains." Crimmins further notes in his book the advertising campaign proved to be successful, growing the beer brand into one of the most popular beers in the country.