In December of 2011, Anheuser-Busch partnered with VideoGenie (now StoryBox) to launch a Facebook Application to audition a Bud Light Hotel correspondent. Contestants submitted thirty-second video clips in an “Ultimate Fan” format, showcasing why they were the ideal candidate for this killer role. The winner was selected to cover Super Bowl XLVI from the Bud Light Hotel, a 180-room renovated hotel in downtown Indianapolis. Not only would the winner star in a series of videos for AB InBev’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, but they would attend red carpet events, conduct celebrity interviews, and get behind-the-curtain views of Playboy and EA Sports parties at the hotel. The winner also received a salary for their tenure. The Bud Light team presented on this campaign at the 2012 SXSW conference and called it “the most effective User Generated Content campaign that Bud Light has ever run.”
What to Learn
- How to Create an Irresistible Offer: Bud Light created an experience that fans couldn’t get anywhere else. They combined incentives in way to draw out the most creative, eccentric, and over-the-top videos imaginable from their die-hard fan base. They did this by knowing exactly what would motivate their customers – the cost to Bud Light is likely less than $10,000 for this incentive, but creating the once-in-a-lifetime experience for their fans was priceless.
- The Importance of Voting: Although voting on Facebook did not play a role in the juries selection process, it still motivated fans to share their video far and wide. At the time (2012) having 1,000 people share their video was an incredible feat. And it was accomplished through a viral voting mechanism, and the perception (that doesn’t seem to be dissuaded) that popularity would impact the winner’s selection.
- A Cookie-Cutter Format any Brand Can Follow: We consider this sort of contest as an “Ultimate Fan” format that pretty much any brand on earth can replicate. Find an irresistible offer, publicize it to your community, and they just need to tell you how much they love you (and how qualified they are) to win. Klondike Bar pioneered this concept in this epic commercial, and Bud Light continued it in this sure-fire tactic to energize fans. The key centers on finding that irresistible offer, but if you can crack that, you’re on your way to an incredible contest.
UGC Type 30 second videos
Duration 4 weeks
Campaign Date December 2012
Incentives (1) Salaried position
(2) All-expense paid trip to Super Bowl
(3) Star in web exclusive videos
(4) Attend red carpet events and interview celebrities at Bud Light Hotel
- 70% of page traffic from organic sharing
- 2 minute increase in Time on Site
- 25 Participants shared their video with 1k+ people
- 1 Participant featured in local news story for his enthusiasm
- 8% increase in Facebook Followers
Examples of Content Received
Who would have thought that fanatics of both Bud Light and the Super Bowl would be able to come up with incredibly original and engaging video content? Pretty much anyone familiar with Bud Light or the Super Bowl, which is 99.99% of the world (I’m looking at you, Eckhart Tolle, as the 0.01% outlier).
Anheuser-Busch is known for their groundbreaking marketing work, and this campaign is no exception. One thing we love about it is their incredible use of an Irresistible Offer. While Bud Light certainly has the budget necessary to provide massive incentives for participation, they took a smarter route in this case. They created a custom, one-of-kind experience that connected with their community at a gut (or beer gut) level. Beer and the Super Bowl go together like… well, not sure, but have you ever tried to watch the Super Bowl sober? Not for the faint of heart [disclaimer: drink responsibly]. Beer and the Super Bowl go together famously, and Bud Light knew it would be an epic incentive for their die-hard fans to get an all-expense paid trip to Super Bowl XLVI. They also knew that anyone who would be attracted to a temporary, paid position to attend the Super Bowl and star in web-exclusive video interviews would also be pretty adept at creating compelling content on their own. So, they invited their fans to submit short, viral videos giving the pitch on why they deserved to be the official correspondent for the Bud Light Hotel.
The Bud Light Hotel is a renovated hotel that Bud Light opens near the Super Bowl. Celebrities, VIP list parties, and other “Blue Carpet Events” are held here (as if the Super Bowl in-and-of-itself wasn’t exciting enough). To provide that “man on the street” viewpoint at the Bud Light Hotel, Bud Light auditioned their community to find someone comfortable being on camera.
The participation and sharing activity are what make it so noteworthy. At SXSW in 2012, Bud Light reported that 70% of this campaign’s traffic was generated from viral sharing. In a world where paid media drives most awareness, this is no simple feat.
Another noteworthy point about this campaign is that pretty much every brand on earth can run this sort of campaign. Sure, you may not be able to renovate your own hotel, obtain tickets to the Super Bowl, or throw parties with Playboy Bunnies & Pit Bull. However, you can engage your community in your equivalent of an “Ultimate Fan” contest. It brings out the most audacious, daring, and creative from your community, and results in some incredibly viral content. Just make sure you have a mechanism to moderate the content before they go live!