Kyle Norrington - VP Marketing
Maria Guest - Director of Marketing
Andrew Oosterhuis - Director of Marketing
Iain Moodie - Senior Brand Manager
Mike Rosenbaum - Associate Brand Manager
Shea Cole - Connections Manager
Christine Arsenault - Manager, Marketing Compliance
Pete Breton - Executive Creative Director
Dave Douglass - Executive Creative Director
Neil Blewett - Copy Writer
Kevin Filliter - Art Director
Oleg Portnoy - Designer
Mark Sarosi - Art Director
Johnny Dantonio - Copy Writer
Leanne McLellan - Head of Production
Dion Aralihalli - Group Account Director/Creative Catalyst
Leah Ouellet - Group Account Director
Mike Stollar - Account Director
Melanie Chiriboga-Gomez - Account Executive
Paul Lipson - Director of Strategy
Jon Daly - Director of Communications Strategy
Rafael Gi - Senior Digital Strategist
Jordan Sowunmi - Community Manager
Lauren Pottie - Digital Supervisor, UM
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||May 2014 to May 2015|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||Complete campaign started in May 2014|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||Calendar 2013|
In the very competitive beer category, identity and relevance are critical to a beer brand. While Bud Light has always been competitive, they hadn’t established a clear brand purpose or developed a strong connection with consumers. In fact, over the years Bud Light has had multiple short-lived campaigns in Canada but couldn’t establish any real consistency, as a result limiting the brand’s true growth potential. It was time for Bud Light to re-establish itself and take a leadership role in redefining its identity and the category in the process.
For Bud Light to win we required a two-tiered strategy to not just win functionally against the category, but also win emotionally with an overly targeted millennial consumer.
Two major “aha!” moments helped us achieve our goal:
1) While the category communicates “refreshment”, no one actually states its benefit. Refreshment = Energy. Energy to keep you going and enjoy your time with friends.
2) “Living life to the fullest” is a core value amongst millennials. Virtually all brands in and out of the category were communicating this the same way to them. It was our opportunity to differentiate how this insight can be brought to life.
In May 2014, Bud Light Living was born: A fully integrated campaign committed to both inspiring and rewarding millennials. With Bud Light’s resources and partnerships, we could deliver bigger and better life experiences in a way our competitors could not. In just one year after the launch of the campaign, Bud Light has skyrocketed to being the number three brand in Canada while also experiencing record growth in the process.
It was important for Bud Light to hit its objectives, because the lack of consistency in campaign messaging created a risk that the brand would not get full funding in the future.
Legal Drinking Age–29 P4W (Past-four-week consumption by consumers)
· Achieve a past-four-week target: 20.2% by May 2015
· Share target: 2.3% growth
Given the size of the total beer category this was an aggressive growth objective.
These objectives were ambitious given that Molson Canadian and Coors Light had a stronghold on their positions as the #2 and #3 brands in Canada respectively. But we were confident that with a clear positioning for Bud Light, we wouldn’t just be a consideration but the go-to beer for consumers against all brands.
While the challenges were big, we knew that if we could dig deeper on both categorical and consumer insights, we could identify a unique space for the brand to occupy.
There was a sea of sameness when it came to how beer brands spoke about their products and how most brands spoke to millennials:
1) Category insight – All functional messaging focused on their beer as refreshing but without any real differentiation. Our opportunity was in expressing the benefit of being refreshed: Refreshment = Energy. Energy allows you to keep going with friends. This was even more true with a light beer versus a standard lager.
2) Consumer insight – Millennials define wealth through experiences and living life to the fullest. While most brands were utilizing the same insight, they weren’t elevating or enabling experiences, they were simply telling consumers to go out there and live life. Our opportunity was to not just talk about living life to the fullest but also actually enable it.
We utilized both insights and repositioned how Bud Light approaches all aspects of its communications in market. From sponsorships to digital to experiential marketing, we changed our approach to focus on elevating experiences for consumers and inspiring others to follow.
THE BIG IDEA: CELEBRATE THE ELITE ATHLETES OF “LIVING”
If millennials were already out there living life, then Bud Light was the perfect beer to energize and reward them with the best experiences.
Introducing Bud Light Living, a campaign dedicated to rewarding those who are out in the world embracing opportunities to celebrate what life has to offer.
Given Bud Light’s vast spectrum of sponsorships, including sports, music festivals, and international DJs, we had the opportunity to rethink how we executed sponsorships to deliver incredible experiences in ways our competitors couldn’t. We shifted our focus from brand visibility to experience enablers.
- 30-second TV
- Video content for pre-roll and social
- Sponsorships/partners for content and social channels
- The Bud Light Living App – a hub for consumers to upload pictures of themselves for a great chance to win money-can’t-buy experiences
- Bud Light social channels – Facebook and Twitter to help deliver real time content and to get consumers to engage in the story as it happens
Bud Light was faced with the challenges of establishing a clear identity for consumers. The spirit of the new Bud Light Living platform had to come through in everything we did. Bud Light Living was about both inspiring and enabling our consumer to get the most out of life. With that in mind we shifted the way we did everything. From messaging to sponsorships, Bud Light was reframing how it went to market.
Sponsorship assets were leveraged to deliver experiences for consumers instead of basic logo backdrops. This was a critical shift as utilizing sponsorships in a new way allowed us to create an engine of unique experiences for consumers and continuous content for the overall program.
All content in market used real people and not actors. This created an instant difference against our competitors as our message in market felt more authentic and in tone with how our consumers expressed themselves.
From a content release standpoint, we took a different approach to be more effective in real time as we shifted from a traditional “ready, aim, fire” approach to “fire, aim, ready”. Timing and relevance became more important than polish in most cases. If we pushed out multiple versions of real time content we could quickly see what was having the most traction in market and put media dollars behind the piece with the greatest potential. This was especially important surrounding time-sensitive events where chatter and relevance were lost virtually the moment the event ended.
Our TV spots highlighted multiple experiences, inspiring and educating consumers as to what Bud Light Living was all about.
Overall, every element of the program was created with purpose. Having all parts of the marketing mix working together instead of separately ensured greater productivity, increased efficiency, and brought greater clarity of what Bud Light stood for with consumers.
Every element of our campaign was uniquely designed to resonate with consumers.
BUD LIGHT LIVING APP: We developed an app encouraging consumers who are out there living to share their moments with #BudLightLiving. The more they shared, the more chances they had to be rewarded with unforgettable experiences. From tickets to a sold-out event to hanging out with their favourite athlete, the experiences and opportunities were endless.
PARTNERSHIPS: It was important that the brand leveraged all assets available to them. Bud Light already had agreements with properties like UFC, NFL, music festivals, and world-renowned DJs. We needed to shift our focus from brand visibility (logos) to brand integration of elevated experiences. Bud Light used every partnership available to deliver unique experiences for consumers and to create continuous content.
CONTENT: While most brands targeting millennials used actors and traditional TVC shoots, we documented real people experiencing money-can’t-buy moments with Bud Light. It was important to demonstrate “living life to the fullest” as opposed to simply saying it. For example, we brought world-famous DJ Steve Aoki to a small house party in London, Ontario, and through our UFC partnership we placed the face of a consumer on the uniforms of UFC fighters, a first in professional sports.
SOCIAL: Our social channels would deliver real time storytelling of the experiences as they happened. It was important that others could engage and amplify the story. Delivering the story in small bites made the experiences feel real and attainable. Our partnerships also allowed us to push our story through their channels, which provided more exposure.
TV – Television was used to help deliver reach with our Bud Light Living message. Our 30-second spot titled “Why” was a highlight of various unique consumer experiences provided from Bud Light. The spot’s use of real people instead of actors was an important way for the brand to inspire millennials to be Bud Light Living in the most authentic way possible, while differentiating ourselves from key competitors who were continuing to use traditional style TV with actors.
After the launch of the campaign, the response to the business exceeded all expectations.
1) Past-four-week target: 20.2%
ACHIEVED: Bud Light overreached its target and hit 21.7%.
(Source: Millward Brown, May 2015, P4W LDA-29.)
This was a statistically significant increase and a new brand record.
2) Share target: 2.3% growth
ACHIEVED: Bud Light overreached its target and grew 4.28%.
(Source: ProClarity, May 2015.)
This share target not only exceeded objectives but was also the highest share the brand had ever achieved. The campaign catapulted Bud Light to the number three position in Canada, significantly widening the gap between it and Molson Canadian. Per the attached chart, the full campaign launched in May 2014 and had immediate traction, sustaining its exponential growth trajectory to the present day. Bud Light continues to set their goals high and hope to have more Canadians Bud Light Living.
- In one year, the campaign garnered over 100 million earned impressions across only four activations
- Positive sentiment is 30:1 (collected positive comments and Likes vs. negative commentary)
- Bud Light/Bud Light Living has trended across Canada twice in the last year
While in the beer category there are variables such as regional pricing that can affect sales results, we are confident in saying that there was a strong relationship between activity and results. Overall spending for the brand was consistent versus previous years.
Bud Light experienced a record growth year and past-four-week consumption when there was no other major marketing activity beyond Bud Light Living occurring. The program received more than 100 million earned media impressions telling the Bud Light Living story across Canada and beyond.
After lacking an identity for years, we successfully established Bud Light as a brand with purpose in just a single year. There is already consideration for the campaign to be adapted to other markets. Our hope is to get everyone around the world Bud Light Living.
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