Skylar Grey has teamed up with Budweiser for its 52nd Super Bowl commercial, which has nothing to do with beer. Instead, the ad highlights the company's philanthropic efforts to provide clean drinking water to victims of natural disasters.
Grey, born Holly Brook Hafermann, performs an acoustic version of the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me" in the commercial. The song brings an emotional depth to the contents of the ad, which shows real Budweiser employees up at dawn filling up empty beer cans with drinking water.
"The song was the perfect choice for Anheuser-Busch because it brings to life how they really do stand by communities in times of need after natural disasters," Grey tells Billboard about her cover of "Stand By Me."
The company released the ad on Friday, a week earlier than its usual airdate during Super Bowl weekend where 100 million viewers are expected to see the commercial. The ad clocks in exactly at one minute and puts the spotlight on Anheuser-Busch's partnership with American Red Cross for the emergency water program.
The initiative has so far provided over 79 million cans of water (7.3 million gallons) in the past decades of its disaster-relief efforts. That amount is enough to cover the Gillette Stadium to U.S. Bank Stadium with cans twice. That is equivalent to more than 3,000 cans for every individual who played in the National Football League.
In 2017, the company's Cartersville brewery provided 2.9 million cans of water across America. Budweiser shipped 155,000 cans of drinking water to survivors of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and over 207, 000 went to victims of the recent California wildfires. Other beneficiaries of the program include Puerto Rico and Florida.
Michel Doukeris, Anheuser-Busch CEO and AB InBev North America Zone president, said that emergency water program is not a momentary initiative to mark the 52nd Super Bowl.
"This is not something that we are doing today just for the Super Bowl, we have been really working on this for 30 years, and it's a global initiative to make sure our company does what it thinks is the right thing to do," Doukeris said.
This is the second time Grey teamed up with Budweiser for its commercial, which she says she was so eager to do. The singer has pledged to donate 25 percent of the proceeds from domestic digital downloads and streams of her "Stand By Me" cover to American Red Cross to further help victims of natural disasters.