AB InBev Shifts Funds From Sports to the American Red Cross

Brewer commits $5 million and airtime to relief efforts

a red cross worker
AB InBev released a 60-second video on Budweiser social channels to announce the partnership. Budweiser
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With pretty much every live sporting event canceled for now, Anheuser-Busch is shifting its sponsorship strategy.

The world’s largest brewer is also the United States’ biggest sponsor of sports and entertainment, and with everything gone dark or digital, the company made a quick pivot.

Channeling the same we’re-all-in-it-together energy that Budweiser brought to this year’s Super Bowl, the all-American brand released a 60-second video on its social channels announcing coronavirus relief efforts.

AB InBev is working with its longtime partner, the American Red Cross, with a $5 million initial donation, as well as a donation of media time in support of its public service announcements. AB InBev is also working with sports partners to identify stadiums and arenas that can be used for temporary blood drives, and is producing hand sanitizer for the Red Cross to be distributed to communities in need.

“The entirety of the campaign was produced in a matter of days and required collaboration among colleagues and teams working remotely, which I believe could be a first for us,” said Cesar Vargas, U.S. chief external affairs officer for Anheuser-Busch.

The brewer has been working with the Red Cross since 1906, according to Vargas, when Adolphus Busch teamed up with the nonprofit organization to provide relief to Californians following the San Francisco earthquake.

“This unprecedented time has changed how we live our lives, how we engage with our families and friends, and how we approach our everyday business,” he said. But what it hasn’t changed, he said, are the company’s commitment to “serve our communities and provide some comfort to our consumers during this challenging period.”

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@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.