- Michelob Ultra today will start livestreaming video workouts from its social channels to reach consumers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The "Movement by Michelob Ultra Live" series will give viewers a chance to tip trainers who appear in the videos while raising money for gym workers who face financial hardship, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- DJ Steve Aoki will perform a set today while 305 Fitness leads viewers through a workout. The workouts will stream every Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on Michelob Ultra's Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube Live channels, followed by a virtual happy hour that lets viewers ask trainers questions about health and fitness.
- Michelob Ultra is urging viewers to support the trainers by putting money into a virtual tip jar. For each dollar donated, the beer brand and supplement maker Optimum Nutrition will match the donation up to $7,500 a week, per the announcement.
Michelob Ultra's livestreamed workout series aims to reach fitness-minded consumers who rely on social media to stay in touch with the outside world during the pandemic, while raising money for personal trainers suffering financial hardship as fitness chains and studios remain closed. The series also reinforces the brand's positioning as a beer for health-conscious consumers who are minding their intake of carbohydrates, as the low-carb beer makes up 10% of Anheuser-Busch InBev's U.S. sales. As housebound people worry about their personal health during the crisis, Michelob Ultra is taking a proactive approach to engaging consumers whose workout routines have been disrupted.
The pandemic has led consumers to favor brands that show concern for consumers and workers affected by the crisis, and Michelob Ultra can show that it's mindful of their worries. The fitness industry is ailing during lockdowns intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. To highlight the financial plight of fitness chains and personal trainers, the brand cited a letter from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that pleaded for financial relief. The letter said 39,750 U.S. health clubs and studios serve 64 million consumers, generate $32.3 billion in yearly revenue and employ more than 425,000 people.
As brands navigate the challenges of the pandemic, it's important to strike the right tone with consumers worried about their health and economic situation. The coronavirus crisis has led to a 42% surge in mission-based marketing, while cause-related marketing has jumped 41%, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found in a survey of advertising executives. These efforts can help to form positive emotional bonds with a brand that may last after the pandemic subsides.
Michelob Ultra's livestreamed series coincides with another campaign aimed at health-conscious consumers stuck at home. The brand this month challenged Twitter users to share videos of their best indoor golfing trick shots to help raise money for COVID-19 relief. As part of its "Ultra Indoor Open," Michelob Ultra offered to donate donate $1 to United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund for every video posted to the social network. The brand pledged up to $500,000 for the challenge, in addition to a $250,000 grant to United Way's relief fund.
COVID-19's spread also has led fitness-oriented brands to revamp their marketing and reach consumers who can't get to the gym. Nike last month dropped the subscription fee for its NTC Premium service that provides streaming workout videos, training programs and expert tips from trainers. Peloton, the maker of exercise equipment, this week started offering a 90-day trial of its subscription workout app as gyms suspend operations, USA Today reported. Women's lifestyle site Popsugar last month said it would release a workout app earlier than planned while also making its "Active by Popsugar" website free to use.
Michelob Ultra is among the alcohol brands that have either developed new campaigns or revamped their advertising during the crisis. Hard seltzer brand Crook & Marker, for example, this month launched a social campaign to raise money for bartenders who face financial hardship as authorities order the closure of bars and restaurants. Busch Beer, a sister brand to Michelob Ultra, last month premiered a weekly livestreamed trivia game show on Facebook that also raised money for bartenders.