Michelob Ultra drives YouTube views through augmented reality, takeover ads

Anheuser-Busch?s Michelob Ultra is putting some marketing muscle behind a YouTube initiative that aims to get consumers rejuvenated and energized with new activities for the year.

The beer brand?s ?New Year?s Evolution? campaign encourages consumers to break out of their usual routine this year with new outdoor, social and travel experiences. To support the launch of the video campaign, Michelob Ultra is running takeover ads within the Weather Channel iPhone application and leveraging augmented reality on static marketing collateral. 

?The ad will certainly drive views of Michelob Ultra?s YouTube channel,? said Shuli Lowy, New York-based marketing director at Ping Mobile.

?Those eyeballs are valuable,? she said. ?The channel-based video experience will allow browsers to flow from one video to the next, providing an extended engagement opportunity and a powerful, appropriately indirect brand experience.?

Ms. Lowy is not affiliated with Michelob Ultra. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Michelob Ultra did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile branding
Michelob Ultra?s YouTube campaign consists of 31 different videos that are roughly 15 seconds long.

Each video encourages consumers to try something new for 2014 that they normally would not do. The videos also feature experts from the fitness, travel, business and culinary industries.

For example, Sonia Gil is an entrepreneur, traveler and language expert, and is featured in a set of videos. Ms. Gil?s videos encourage consumers to break out of their usual routine by trying a new food at a restaurant or giving a friend a phone call.

Michelob Ultra?s ad within the Weather Channel app fits into the background of current weather conditions.

A branded piece of copy in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen features Michelob Ultra?s logo above the ?Get fresh ideas for a better you? slogan.

When consumers click on Michelob?s logo, the beer brand?s YouTube page is pulled into a landing page.

From there, consumers can watch the brand?s short video clips from the campaign.

Building brand awareness
In addition to the mobile ad within the Weather Channel app, Michelob Ultra is also using augmented reality to bring the campaign?s static marketing to life.

When consumers scan a piece of marketing collateral with the Blippar app, they are first asked to verify their date of birth to make sure that they are over 21 years old.

The augmented reality landing page lets consumers shake their mobile device to create a combination of three different criteria with ideas to help consumers get rejuvenated for 2014.

Once consumers find their ideal combination, they can click through to view one of Michelob Ultra?s YouTube videos.

Additionally, a button at the bottom of the page lets consumers learn more about each of the people featured in the videos.

The augmented reality campaign lets consumers snap a photo of themselves as different characters that are all trying something new.

The characters include a hiker on a mountain, a surfer and a rock climber.

?Marketing alcoholic beverages on mobile devices in the United States is difficult,? Ms. Lowy said. ?Regulatory restrictions are particularly strict in mobile because most of the time we don?t have visibility into the age of the end user. We cannot send a personal ad promoting alcohol consumption to someone who is under-aged.

?It is for this reason that you don?t come across ads that directly promote alcohol consumption or purchases,? she said.

?Mobile ad campaigns for alcoholic beverages will never use direct, immediate sales or coupon redemptions as a key performance indicator. Instead, brands that sell alcoholic beverages will use their advertising to exude a certain brand persona ? it can be the macho, unpredictable Dos Equis?, the crisp, professional Heineken or the active, invigorating Michelob Ultra.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York