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Budweiser cooks up burgers-and-beer competition with mobile-optimized site

Budweiser is introducing consumers to its new national competition, the Bud and Burgers Championship, by leveraging a partnership with culinary expert David Chang and inviting users to nominate their favorite burgers by uploading a photo or video onto Budweiser?s mobile-optimized site to showcase why it is best paired with the brand?s beer.

The beverage marketer, along with Mr. Chang, will embark on a coast-to-coast tour in a bid to find the best burger to pair with a Budweiser, while giving fans the opportunity to be crowned as the creator of the best combination. The Bud and Burgers Champion will also be a finalist in Esquire Network?s new cooking competition series, tentatively called ?United States of Burgers.?

?Mobile is definitely a part of the Bud and Burgers Championships ? each week, consumers can vote on which burgers they think are the best,? said Brian Perkins, vice president of marketing at Budweiser, St. Louis, MO. ?In doing that, they enter to be eligible for a trip to the Bud and Burgers Championship finale in St. Louis.

?A large portion of our campaign is focused on mobile. We need to be on the screens of our fans,? he said.

?We?re taking risks and trying new things to make our way onto people?s phones and get in their news feeds. For Bud and Burgers, we will reach beer and burger lovers at restaurants and bars or at home ?wherever they?re enjoying a burger.?

Attracting mobile users
Consumers at dining establishments can easily partake in the first round of the competition by snapping a photo or video of their burger and uploading it to the mobile-optimized site to explain why they should be selected as the 2015 Bud and Burgers Champion.

Entries can also be submitted via Twitter and Instagram

Chef David Chang is set to help the beverage brand choose the winner, who will receive $100,000 to support their culinary goals. He or she will also be invited to compete in ?United States of Burgers.?

Mr. Chang believes that beer and burgers are complementary, and that a full-flavored lager can help the taste of a savory burger emerge more effectively.

?Budweiser is clearly listening to social trends: people want craft, and people want quality,? said Amir Zonozi, chief of strategy, Zoomph, Reston, VA. ?By repositioning themselves as the perfect companion to burgers, Budweiser is the first mainstream brewery to capture this market.

?Chefs and culinary tasting is regularly associated to a sophistication in taste and quality and Budweiser?s brand only stands to gain positive sentiment by connecting themselves to this topic.?

The competition, which kicked off on National Beer Day, asks burger fans 21 and up to submit their burgers onto the site before semi-finalists are selected to compete at 10 Bud and Burgers Championships around the nation, hosted at some of the summer?s biggest festivals.

Locations will include the Free Press Summer Fest, Chicago Blues Festival, Stagecoach Music Festival and more.

Lastly, the competition will culminate with a finale event hosted by Chef Chang and Budweiser at the brand?s namesake brewery in St. Louis on July 11. Budweiser?s brewmasters will be among the judges at the event.

Social media component
Budweiser will be cross-posting more information about the competition on its Facebook and Twitter pages in a bid to reach a wider audience on mobile. Consumers are also encouraged to follow along via the #BudandBurgers hashtag.

Mobile-optimizes sites are becoming requisite for marketers in the alcohol sector, as more consumers turn to mobile for on-the-go browsing and purchasing.

?Budweiser seems to be trying a different angle by moving away from emotion-based marketing with this campaign, and it looks like they are leaving a lot on the table without having any social element to the campaign,? Zoomph's Mr. Zonozi said. ?This is the perfect opportunity to pull in user-generated content into a social hub on their Web page and highlight Budweiser and burger Instagrams or Tweets from chefs with their perfected recipes.?

Heineken Light is driving sales of its low-calorie light lager by leveraging a mobile-optimized site with campaign videos featuring actor Neil Patrick Harris, and offering customers a money-back guarantee if their beer purchase does not satisfy their taste buds (see story).

?With this program, we?re looking to educate burger fans nationwide about exactly how the beer?s crisp finish and aroma-enhancing carbonation can make burgers taste even better,? Budweiser?s Mr. Perkins said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York