If you thought live sporting events couldn’t get any more frenetic, Budweiser’s poised to raise the bar this year. As the FIFA World Cup’s official beer for over 25 years, Budweiser is taking advantage of the international stage to showcase “Light Up The FIFA World Cup,” which the beer brand is calling its largest and flashiest soccer campaign yet.
As part of the campaign, Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev deployed brew-delivering drones across the globe in a television campaign, carrying cold ones from St. Louis to as far as Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the location of the final match (no telling how cold they were they got there). The campaign from Anomaly will also incorporate the worldwide distribution of 8 million red light-up cups, which are activated by the sound of cheering.
“This football World Cup is estimated to be the most watched event in the history of the human race, reaching billions of people,” said Brian Perkins, vp of global marketing for Budweiser in a conference call. “Everyone looks forward to it like an epic global holiday.”
While Budweiser has in the past dazzled spectators with high-tech cups—like its Bud Light Touchdown Glass from the NFL season opener—the FIFA 2018 cups pioneer the noise-activated technology. The cups, which contain a microphone and three LEDs, will be available in stadiums in Russia as well as viewing parties around the world. The unique light-up cup designs will also be tailored to each match and come in 70 different languages.
“Budweiser is a brand full of energy and our whole campaign is centered around the idea of amplifying the feeling of euphoric energy that we see from fans only once every four years around the FIFA World Cup,” said a company spokesperson. “So we set out to create the first ever beer cup that literally amplifies fan energy.”
The company has suggested there are more surprises to come too as the event draws closer.
“This is a rich integrated campaign, and we have a lot planned, from packaging, to content, to fan experiences in Russia and around the world,” the spokesperson added. “We’ll have an unprecedented amount of integrated experiential in Moscow, from our Bud Hotel, to Bud Boat, to Gipsy Club, as well as digital and social programs running around the world, including fan voting for Man of the Match.”
With its global campaign, Budweiser isn’t worried about growing geopolitical conflicts surrounding Russia. Budweiser CMO Miguel Patricio emphasized in the conference call that Budweiser is a beer brand that has long represented the World Cup regardless of political climate. “This for us is not a political moment,” he said. “It’s a moment that unites the world around football.”
Budweiser unveiled the 90-second broadcast spot, including one that features the cartoon-ish underdog drone “Bud 1876” struggling against obstacles and a dizzying futuristic backdrop to be ultimately united with a satisfied fan. The ads, which will also air in 15- and 30-second versions, will run in 50 countries and across social media channels.
Budweiser’s FIFA ads will be noticeably absent in the US, despite being a large market for the company, because the country did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup. TV ratings are likely to be lower without the presence of the home team and the company will instead focus on targeting other established and emerging markets for its beverages, including South Africa, Colombia, Nigeria, Ecuador and Peru, Perkins explained to Ad Age.