- Busch Beer and arcade game Big Buck Hunter are partnering for the first time to raise funds for conservation through purchase of a new $5 Busch Big Buck Hunter Permit, according to a press release. All proceeds will go to the National Forest Foundation (NFF).
- The permit doesn't enable actual hunting, but lets the owner unlock an exclusive "Great White Buck" game at Big Buck Hunter arcade machines, via a swipe of the permit. Players who hit the White Buck will be entered for a chance to win their own arcade game machine.
- The partnership includes a promotion on specially packaged beer cans, featuring scannable codes that unlock a mobile augmented reality (AR) game — there is also a web version. Game players will also be entered into a sweepstakes to win their own Buck Hunter machine. For every posting of a Buck Hunter score on social media, the arcade brand will donate another dollar to the NFF, which will be doubled to $2 on National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sept. 28).
As beer drinking declines, beer brands have focused their marketing on creating links to various culturally relevant experiences. Busch has branded itself as the beer that "tastes best in the great outdoors," and the new alliance with the Big Buck Hunter arcade game is the latest incarnation of that marketing effort.
Big Buck Hunter is an arcade-style video game likely known to many beer drinkers, as the game machines often reside in bars and compete for attention with darts or pool and allow bar patrons to virtually hunt deer, moose and other wild animals.
In their announcement, the brands note that a recent drop in real-life hunting hasn't helped wildlife conservation because a significant portion of conservation funding comes from the sale of hunting permits and related taxes. By banding together, the two brands aim to connect with their overlapping fans and reinforce their associations with wildlife. Busch has previously supported the National Forest Foundation in its marketing campaigns.
In addition to the swipeable permit, Busch is expanding the campaign with an mobile game that could potentially reach a larger audience than those willing to pay for the permit and find the arcade game in person. The brand joins alcohol brands like Devils Backbone, Angry Orchard and Miller Lite that have added scannable features to their product packaging this year, aiming to more deeply engage drinkers with a brand story.
Busch's recent marketing initiatives include several attention-grabbing ways of tying its identity to outdoor life. The brand's Busch Guy spokesperson, introduced in 2017 and dressed in a wool shirt, personifies the beer's outdoorsy style. Last month, Busch created a temporary pop-up to dish out free beer and merchandise. Dubbed the "Pop Up Schop," it was hidden in a U.S. national forest, with clues distributed on Twitter over several days.
Apart from its outdoorsy efforts, Busch launched a limited edition of its beer as "Busch Latte." The label accompanied a mock commercial and jingle that satirizes coffee commercials from the '80s and '90s.