Bud Light is heralding the return of professional football with a “Kickoff Beers” campaign centered on cracking open the first can on game day, according to a news release. It was developed with internal agency DraftLine, a representative said.
Athletes Travis Kelce and George Kittle star in a new spot that mixes the crisp sound of a Bud Light opening into the classic NFL theme. A 15-second version of the creative is running nationally throughout the season.
Bud Light is also reimbursing beer costs for the first 50 fans who tweet their Cash App at its account with the hashtags #KickoffBeers and #Sweepstakes ahead of kickoff each Sunday this season. Custom team packaging and a nonfungible token (NFT) drop round out the campaign amid a shakeup to the brand’s creative strategy.
Bud Light is entering the NFL season with a campaign playing up the sensory pleasures of cracking open a fresh beer. New ads note that fans have gone 200 days without proper professional football, teeing up anticipation for the return of tailgates and watch parties.
To encourage those types of gatherings, Bud Light is running weekly promotions through the Cash App mobile payments service that help 50 fast-moving consumers cover their beer costs. The marketer is also hosting an inaugural in-person toast at the showdown between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on Sept. 11.
Commercials show off custom packaging that is a major component of Bud Light’s retail marketing around pro football. The AB InBev brand, a longtime NFL sponsor, has brought back team-tailored cans in 24 participating cities for a limited time, along with limited-edition packaging displaying the league’s shield logo. The team beers bear chants and phrases specific to those fandoms.
Bud Light is porting over the concept to digital channels through an NFT release as part of its partnership with the NFL. Each piece of the "Bud Light x NFL Ultimate Fandom" collection mirrors the real-world packaging, giving owners digital memorabilia for the 32 league teams. The tokens also access a survivor pick'em tournament carrying prizes including merchandise, a year’s worth of beer and tickets to the next Super Bowl.
“Kickoff Beers” comes as Bud Light and parent Anheuser-Busch InBev adjust their creative strategy. Bud Light recently announced it selected two new creative agencies, parting ways with Wieden + Kennedy after seven years. Anomaly is taking over the core Bud Light business while The Martin Agency is handling brand extensions, such as its hard seltzer offerings — an increasingly key aspect of AB InBev’s growth agenda. DraftLine, an internal marketing unit, spearheaded “Kickoff Beers.”
AB InBev this season also relinquishes alcohol advertising exclusivity around the Super Bowl, a position it’s held for over three decades. The brewing giant will continue to produce ads for the big game and remains the official beer and hard seltzer sponsor of the NFL, but will contend with more aggressive plays from competitors. Chief rival Molson Coors already plans to run at least one ad during Super Bowl LVII in February.