The UEFA Euros is a time when a lot of beer is consumed, but the event is saturated with campaigns aligned to its official sponsors. Budweiser UK was not an official sponsor but its key rival Carlsberg was. Parent company AB InBev set its agencies a task: drive exposure to ensure that Budweiser was the most talked about beer brand in the UK during the championship, foster affinity among 18 to 24 year old men and increase sales of the beer.
The agencies knew they had to create a unique concept that captured imaginations and encapsulated Budweiser’s strategy to ‘support the supporters’, ensuring its share of voice eclipsed that of Carlsberg, and then to keep the momentum up across the tournament. The two-phase strategy was to, firstly, create a moment in time and then to create a moment of planned spontaneity, building on the groundswell. The solution was to brew a beer made by fans. A Budweiser tanker filled with beer toured the UK, along the way getting ‘blessed’ by ex-players and supporters to imbue luck for the tournament.
When the tanker arrived at Budweiser’s brewery in Preston, fans sang victory chants during the brewing process. The limited edition beer was then bottled. The ‘Made by Fans’ beer secured blanket coverage across the media, while a video of the road trip featuring former England players Graeme Le Saux and John Barnes had 8.4 million impressions and 1.5 million engagements. But after England was knocked out by Iceland, the focus turned to Wales, who were still in the competition.
The team’s stunning 3-1 victory over Belgium in the quarter finals, the country’s best performance at a major international tournament, offered an opportunity to think about how to capitalise on Wales’ success. Within four days, #ThisBudsForYouWales was launched: Budweiser would toast the dedication and support of Welsh football fans with a free beer for everyone over the age of 18. It became the top trending story on Facebook and Twitter. The campaign achieved 67 pieces of coverage, including 17 articles in the national print media and a broadcast interview with Budweiser on the BBC.
It reached more than 16 million people who were in the target audience, and over-indexed on 18 to 34 year old men by 15 per cent. Sales of Budweiser were 6.5 million litres more than in the same month the previous year: volume sales rose 1.5 per cent against the backdrop of a 1.3 per cent decline in the category.
The judges described the campaign as ‘genuinely integrated’, adding: ‘This was a lovely idea and included great activities across multiple platforms.’