- Michelob Ultra launches a new campaign this week to celebrate the return of live sporting events, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive. Titled "The Greatest Comeback," the effort will kick off during the NBA Playoffs with a 45-second spot featuring professional athletes from several sports who are sponsored by the AB InBev brewer. Thirty- and 15-second ads will air afterward on YouTube, social media, connected TV, streaming services and programmatic.
- Centering the campaign is a prize giveaway, including merchandise, game passes and a grand prize of two tickets to five major sporting events throughout 2022: the Super Bowl, Miami Open, NBA Finals, President's Cup and FIFA World Cup. The grand prize winner will also get access to a private jet for transportation between the events and hotel accommodations.
- "The Greatest Comeback" sees Michelob Ultra bringing back in-person themes to its marketing, joining a host of other brands — particularly in the alcohol industry — that are focusing messaging around activities beginning again amid the pandemic.
Sports are mostly back, and Michelob Ultra is celebrating with a new sweepstakes campaign. The launch kicks off with clips of in-person sporting events featuring athletes from multiple professional sports, interlaced with scenes of activities like attending a game and drinking at a bar. The message behind the spot centers around celebrating social moments, a theme that has been common during the pandemic and which reflects how COVID has uprooted consumers' lives, including their ability to enjoy in-person sports.
The lack of attendance at last year's games across sports negatively affected many brand sponsors, with more than 40% of marketers saying live events are their most important marketing channel, according to 2019 Bizzabo data cited by Velocitize. Michelob Ultra is heavily involved in sports marketing and is the official beer partner of the NBA.
Now that many leagues are bringing fans back to their events, including some to full capacity, Michelob Ultra wants to stir excitement with in-person themes. "The Greatest Comeback" features a ticket giveaway to major events, a pre-pandemic norm for brands, but the first for Michelob Ultra since the pandemic began. Fans who buy specialty bottles signed by Michelob-sponsored athletes can upload a picture to a microsite and enter to win the grand prize. Fans who collect all six bottles will earn extra entries toward the grand prize and increase their chances of winning. This giveaway is an extension of messaging the brewer has called "breaking out of the digital world," a reference to the fact that digital marketing has become the go-to channel for brands.
The beer brand's new campaign also reflects a greater trend of brands focusing their marketing efforts on the reopening of society. Campaigns are launching nearly every week to excite consumers about a return to pre-pandemic activities. The alcohol industry in particular is itching to get fans out of their homes.
AB InBev has been busy pushing its brands through a variety of channels. In April, Budweiser reactivated its classic Clydesdales in a national TV spot raising awareness for vaccines, and earlier this month Stella Artois hosted a chess challenge on Twitch. As more vaccinations continue to be administered, the brewing giant could lean further in the direction of including in-person activities in its messaging.