When it comes to fan experience in the NFL, no one is out there working harder than Bud Light. There is a reason why the Bud Light brand stands alone atop the heap of marketing teams that hit the field every Sunday. No one consistently does sports activations better than Bud Light.
Bud Light is not one of those brands that crops up just in time for Super Bowl Week and then disappears again until next year. They’re out there putting on special events in cities across the country – all season long. In some stadiums, they never stop. Bud Light has installed permanent activations in several different NFL cities.
The Number One Fan of the Fans
The best way to understand the brand’s dedication to NFL fans is to let their promotions speak for themselves. When Bud Light kicked off their “Beer with Your Team on It” campaign in 2016, the minute-long national TV spot was a video mosaic that payed homage to the fans of all 32 teams. The advertisement featured real NFL fans, along with NFL legend Bo Jackson and several other celebrities.
In addition to putting their favorite fans on TV they also create some of the most successful fan experience events for local NFL markets, as well as interactive activations that are available to fans around the world. Let’s take a look at five of Bud Light’s most successful NFL activations:
#5 – Digital Fan Experiences for Connected Fans
Bud Light is a heavy-hitter in the digital arena, with promotions like last year’s partnership with mobile app ibotta. The two brands teamed up to buy a free beer for the first 50,000 qualifying fans at the Bronco’s opening game. The fans who claimed the free beers were also served several interactive follow-up opportunities.
At the same time, Bud Light was teaming up with NEXREF Technologies to create an augmented reality experience using the Bronco’s signature Bud Light cans. When fans scanned their own can using the Bronco’s mobile app, each can displayed an augmented reality effect which made the can appear to open up to show an explosive highlight clip from the current season.
#4 – Special Regional Events
Bud Light keeps up a busy schedule for regional activations throughout the league each season. The brand hosts pregame concerts, tailgating events, and pep rallies, often inviting big name musical talent to entertain fans and amplify the NFL fan experience.
Bud Light also reaches out to fans of college football teams with extended promotions like last year’s Down South Tailgate Tour. The tour treated fans in 10 different cities to local food trucks, pregame competitions, and live performances by top country music performers. Bud Light put together a 1600-square-foot mobile sports bar, and redecorated it to match the team colors for each team on the tour.
#3 – Venue-Based Sports Activations
Bud Light has sponsored venues in stadiums throughout the NFL. The Bud Light Patio at Levi’s Stadium is one of the more notable venues. This massive open air platform provides a place where fans can meet up with each other to stretch their legs, enjoy drinks, and watch the game from an awesome viewpoint.
You can also find Bud Light-sponsored venues on-site at places like the Bud Light Party Pavilion at the Redskins’ FedExField, the Bud Light Primetime Grill at University of Phoenix Stadium, and the Bud Light Party Zone at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.
Some of the most memorable NFL activations Bud Light has done were short-term venues that they set up for only a few days of use. For Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, Bud Light converted Phoenix’s Hotel Palomar into one massive party scene called the “House of Whatever.” The by-invitation-only party featured three nights of high-energy music anchored by Grammy-nominee DJ Steve Aoki. 17 separate musical acts performed, with unannounced celebrity appearances for the duration of the party.
#2 – Fan Camp: How Would a Fan Experience NFL Training Camp?
Can you imagine an NFL-style training camp for fans? Bud Light made this dream a reality with their 60-city NFL Fan Camp. This touring experience lasted 15 weeks as it roamed from coast to coast, inviting the fans of almost every NFL city to take part in skills test and contests.
Fans took part in kicking, passing, and receiving drills – with each drill incorporating a little of Bud Light’s creative branding. Fans grouped off into teams of four to run the drills and then play against each other in a 4-on-4 flag football tournament. The winning team from each region won a trip to Hawaii for the Fan Camp Finals which took place the day after the Pro Bowl in Aloha Stadium.
#1 – The Ultimate Fan Experience
Imagine that you’re standing in line at the turnstile to watch your hometown NFL team. As you wait, a stranger approaches and asks you to take part in a coin flip. You call heads, and you win. The stranger explains that you’re going to enjoy the Bud Light Ultimate Fan Experience. The rest is like a dream.
You’re instantly whisked out to the playing field where you’re free to roam the sidelines as the players warm up. When the team is gathered in the tunnel, you’re handed a flag and asked to lead the team as they run out onto the field. After standing on the sideline with the team for the national anthem, you exit through the tunnel and make your way to the elevator – headed all the way to the top.
When you get upstairs, you’re escorted to the press box where you meet and chat with a legendary retired player from your team. Next, you head over to the owner’s box for a meet and greet with the owner and the team’s top brass. You have carte-blanche at all the stadium’s restaurants, and you have a complimentary shopping spree in the team store.
Bud Light raised the bar for fan experience activations in every sport around the world with the Ultimate Fan Experience. The effort has remained a sweeping success with a few updates, and it’s hard for any of us to believe that the promotion started 6 years ago during the 2011 season.