- Busch Beer started a social media sweepstakes that gives three couples a chance to get married outside at a picturesque farm as the pandemic continues to disrupt wedding plans. The AB InBev-owned brand will host the weddings in July at farms that grow grains used to make its beer, per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Busch will cover the cost of a wedding planner, ceremony photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, flowers, entertainment and catering, which includes a wedding cake and supply of Busch Beer. Winners can invite as many as 100 guests to the ceremony and reception, which will take place at Anheuser-Busch's barley farm in Idaho Falls, Idaho, or one of its corn farms in Bismarck or Fargo, North Dakota.
- Couples need to explain how Busch Beer brings them together in a post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtags #BuschFarmWedding and #Contest to enter. The deadline for entries is April 7, after which Busch will select 10 finalists who will be judged for their creativity and how well they represent the Busch brand. It will choose three winners from that group, per the contest rules.
With the pandemic again disrupting the wedding plans for many couples, Busch is offering a way to host a ceremony and reception in an outdoor setting that could help keep attendees safe by making it easier to practice social distancing. At the same time, the effort continues the brand's commitment to weddings as a marketing theme while reflecting how experiential marketing is seeing renewed interest from brands, who are focused on creating events that are safe and memorable even as consumer uncertainty remains.
Weddings could see a rebound in 2021 but with so much uncertainty remaining around coronavirus infection rates and when people can get the vaccine, some couples may still decide to wait. Last year, several weddings were pinpointed as super spreader events when a number of attendees became infected, pointing to challenges of practicing social distancing at such events. Some are hoping an outdoor venue will help keep attendees safe, causing a run on such locations that is making booking them a challenge for couples, according to the Busch press materials.
Busch Beer's social media sweepstakes for a farm wedding expands on contests it has run for the past two years. As many weddings got canceled last year, Busch offered couples a chance to win free beer for a year to tide them over. Starting in 2019, the brand offered enough cash to cover the cost of a wedding, with the ceremony ordained by its "Busch Guy" spokesperson. This year's contest is part of AB InBev's broader effort to create culturally relevant experiences that help its brands to stand out amid changing consumer tastes.
By running a contest on social media, Busch can engage younger adults who tend to spend more time connecting through platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. About 72% of U.S. consumers under the age of 40 use Facebook, compared with 65% for Instagram and 38% for Twitter, according to a recent study by WPP's Wunderman Thompson and survey platform PollFish.
Busch also can gather more first-party data about consumers who are most likely to favor its products, and use the information for future campaigns. First-party consumer data has become much more valuable for brands as they prepare for the loss of audience tracking technologies as consumers grow more concerned about data privacy, and laws are enacted to give people more control over their personal information.
Busch's farm wedding sweepstakes follows its other social media contests aimed at engaging consumers. Last month, the brand celebrated the return of the NASCAR season with a pair of contests to win a recreational or a full-time job paying $50,000 a year in a professional pit crew. With many people stuck at home looking for ways to pass the hours during pandemic lockdowns, Busch ran a social media contest to win a jigsaw puzzle with a photo of its "Busch Guy" spokesperson.