A new marketing push from Budweiser is tapping into a stateside ideal—namely, that determination, hard work and overcoming adversity will get you to where you want to go.
In partnership with Grammy-nominated musical artist and social activist Halsey (aka Ashley Frangipane), the beer brand’s latest addition to its “Be a King” campaign depicts Frangipane’s real-life transition from writing music on the New York City subway to performing at Madison Square Garden. A two-minute spot shows how Frangipane struggled her way to the top of the music business and found inspiration for her stage name in the Halsey Street station, located on the border of Queens and Brooklyn. (Halsey is an anagram of Ashley.)
“Budweiser is a brand founded on ambition,” said Steve Arkley, vp of global marketing at Budweiser. “We had a founder who had a dream about coming to America and making it big, and that has set the DNA of our brand for years.”
The ad ends with superimposed text stating that “Kings aren’t made overnight” in a nod to the fact that Halsey’s achievements didn’t occur in an instant.
“We want to encourage people to celebrate ambition and not just success,” said Arkley.
Budweiser has teamed up with professional soccer players Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi for previous installments of its “Be a King” campaign, but Arkley explained the title applies to women, too.
“We believe passionately that the idea of King is a mindset and an attitude,” he said, noting that the term has been popping up in culture recently, such as in Beyoncé’s “Black Is King” film project and Alicia Keys’ “She’s A King” bomber jacket.
Budweiser’s multiplatform marketing push, created by Anomaly and shot prior to the pandemic, is scheduled to run in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and South Korea.
As part of the campaign, Halsey will also release an original poem titled “Becoming a King” along with limited-edition apparel designed by Halsey and her team. Budweiser and Halsey are donating all profits from the collection to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Budweiser first worked with Halsey at its BudX Hotel activation in Miami in February in conjunction with Super Bowl LIV, where she performed a concert alongside the Black Eyed Peas, De La Soul and Diplo.