Budweiser is known as an all-American brand. But of late, it's found a sweet spot north of the border.
Budweiser Canada has harnessed Canadian pride—more specifically, Canadian pride about hockey—to deliver a couple of interesting marketing ploys recently. First, in February, ad agency Anomaly orchestrated a Budweiser stunt in Port Credit, Ontario, surprising two recreational hockey teams by filling their empty stadium with fans, cheerleaders and sportscasters, giving the feel of a pro game. (Footage from the event aired during Canadian coverage of the Super Bowl.) Now, Anomaly is back with a second stunt—this one connected to the Winnipeg Jets.
After 15 years away, the Jets returned to Winnipeg last October. (Technically, it's a different team—the original Jets decamped for Arizona in 1996 and became the Phoenix Coyotes. The new Jets are the old Atlanta Thrashers. But let's not ruin this feel-good story.) To celebrate the team's return, Budweiser filled three sealed vessels with water collected from different iconic Winnipeg locations and put them on display at the Jets' first home game—where fans blessed them as they walked past. Some of the water was then poured on to the ice, but the rest was taken to Bud's Edmonton brewery, where it was used to make a limited-edition brew "celebrating the strong spirit and hopes of the entire city of Winnipeg." The whole process is outlined in the four-minute video below, complete with the requisite misty eyes toward the end.
Bud tested the water to make sure it was clean before using it to make the beer, so save your snarky comments where that's concerned. Likewise your quips about the wisdom of brewing Winnipeg-honoring beer in Edmonton. Fact is, Anomaly has tapped into the uncomplicated, heartfelt emotions of Canadian sports fans not just by filming a treacly commercial (which many American brands do with American sports fans) but by embedding itself in the community and making real-life gestures. At the core, those gestures may be hokey—pride and sports are the most hackneyed of bedfellows—but Anomaly's inventive little creative twists raise the work above pure sentimentality.
Whatever you think of the beer, this is marketing that goes down easy.
Client: Budweiser Canada
Agency: Anomaly, New York