Budweiser is a beer brand from Anheuser-Busch, a global brewing company, having a commercial presence in over 130 countries around the world and particularly a high number of sports fans among its customer base. Introduced in 1876, the bohemian-style lager is universally known as “the king of beers.”
The World Cup soccer tournament in June 2010 in South Africa gave the company a chance to supplement its other advertising with a campaign on Facebook, something Budweiser had done successfully in the past. One of the key objectives of Budweiser was to engage with World Cup fans around the world meaningfully. The campaign was aimed at bringing customers together through a love for soccer and a sense of national and team pride to help Budweiser customers around the globe to get more closer to the sport.
In the starting phase of its “Bud United Show Your True Colors” campaign on a social media platform i.e. Facebook, Budweiser first turned to its already existing Facebook Page – the free official public profiles of companies that enable them to share their products and services with Facebook users on an ongoing basis. Budweiser has several such Pages, including United States Budweiser Page and United Kingdom Budweiser Page.
The campaign was a large-scale operation, using print Ads along with TV ads in many versions. To get it off the ground, it was the most important to let people who had already connected to the other Budweiser Facebook Pages know that a special new Facebook Page, Bud United, was launched. Budweiser used the publishing feature on all its existing Facebook Pages to advertise about its World Cup-related Facebook Page.
As this whole thing was a broad approach, Budweiser used both Premium Page Ads, which appear on the Facebook homepage and Marketplace Ads on appear on users’ profile pages. All the ads were directed at audience who had already connected to Budweiser Pages on Facebook. The company smartly used Facebook’s anonymized and aggregated targeting features to reach people who had listed keywords related to “sports” and “beer” in the Likes and Interests sections of their profiles. “We knew that passionate sports fans have a really high index with beer drinkers and we targeted our campaign to the markets where Budweiser is active,” says Budweiser Global Advertising Director, Andrew Sneyd. “Our core markets are actually quite geographically removed from South Africa and so any tools we could provide to make people feel closer to the game, we explored.”
Budweiser’s Bud United Facebook Page showcased several interactive features, developed by DDB Worldwide which is a Canadian firm Grip Ltd, including the Bud House in which a ambassador or more commonly a “Super-fan” from each of the 32 countries playing in the World Cup was invited to live in a reality-TV-style house in South Africa. These “super-fans” reported back to their country and the rest of the world the Facebook Page made specifically for each Bud House “super-fan.” and through videos on Youtube.
Another phase of the campaign was an application “Paint Your Face” developed by Canadian firm GRIP Limited. This feature allowed Facebook users who had connected to the Bud United Page to choose from among different national colors related to other World Cup related Budweiser Facebook pages. By doing so, they could change their own Facebook profile image to show their team fidelity in a personalized way. Since this involved transforming the user’s Facebook profile image and thus ultimately getting into the news feed directly, all of that person’s friends could immediately see that the user had clicked to like Budweiser and could also virtually paint their profile image. Paint your face application was an application to show your entire Facebook friend group your faithfulness, who you were cheering for, and do it in a really fun way,” says Andrew.
• The campaign went worldwide. It was created for multiple regions – USA, Argentine, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, and many more –but it was embraced by the planet, as shown by the millions of users who participated from all over the world.
•The Bud United Page’s growth was mind blowing, with a rate of 1 person per 10 seconds joining and liking the page during the first few days of the World Cup.
•As a sign of the high level fan following generated by the campaign, around 2.7 million people “painted” their faces virtually and even around 1 million people liked Bud United Page by the end of the campaign.
•The viral Facebook marketing led to people telling the friends they were connected to on Facebook about the campaign, increasing the number of people connected to Budweiser Pages from countries where the beer was not commercially sold.
The success of this campaign was compelling to the company. Andrew said, “It creates a great opportunity for us moving forward to make Bud United have more engaging, ongoing dialogue with these fans around the world and their connection to sport and soccer.” The brand is currently working on its “next large-scale campaigns but keeping in mind all of the key success points that made this one.” The brand is in planning for next year while adding tools and opportunities for people to connect in the balance of this year as well.