Brand Storytelling at its Best
Bud Light, Engages Audience With Content and Experiential Marketing
Every brand has a story to tell, and this past weekend, as Bud Light saw its highly anticipated user-generated content (UGC) marketing campaign evolve into an epic party/TV commercial shoot, we witnessed the power that customers have in helping to tell that story.
Where can you do hip-hop karaoke with Lil Jon, eat ice cream served by Vanilla Ice, Prancercise with the Prancercise lady, catch performances by Holy Ghost, Questlove, KC and The Sunshine Band, derby race with the mayor, get woken up by mariachi band, put together 5,000 meals to be donated to Care and Share Food Bankwatch, see fire breathers, play with small horses and giraffes, and drink a lot of Bud Light?
All in one weekend?
Crested Butte, Colorado, that’s where!
As brands embrace the power of content storytelling and UGC marketing, marketers are recognizing a fantastic opportunity: if they empower audiences to participate in their story, their results are exponentially more powerful and authentic. In a word, amazing.
This past weekend Bud Light, a Thismoment customer, pulled off a campaign that exemplifies not only the power of UGC marketing, but also how content marketing, social media and experiential marketing and traditional advertising can all coexist in an epic integrated marketing strategy.
A feat so grand Adweek dubbed the campaign “content marketing on steroids.” All marketers can learn a lot from Bud Light and their seemingly flawless campaign.
Up For Whatever! The UGC Marketing Contest
Bud Light knew one important thing about their audience: the opportunity to attend an exclusive weekend party for 1000 people in a mystery town, dubbed “Whatever, USA,” would resonate with their millennial beer drinking audience.
To choose the lucky few attendees they hosted a UGC contest that asked entrants to “audition” by uploading a video that displayed that they were indeed, “Up For Whatever!” Amazingly, through the course of the campaign they managed to reach an estimated 50 percent of the 21 to 27-year-olds in their demographic each week via Facebook. They received approximately 100,000 auditions from their customers, an amazing feat in itself.
Brilliantly they created a stellar mystery by offering zero details of the “Up For Whatever!” party, which their target audience loved. Rather than structuring the campaign as a simple “enter to win” sweepstakes, they gave control to their fans. If they wanted to attend the party they had to get creative and get noticed.
UGC marketing is more than a passing phase, it’s a powerful tool that allows brands to incorporate authentic user-voice into their marketing and brand storytelling initiatives. In the case of the Up For Whatever! campaign, Bud Light relied on the power of UGC marketing in the form of customer video auditions to decide on winners. At the event the 1000 winners were called upon to help spread the word of the epic party by tagging their images with #UpForWhatever and #WhateverUSA, resulting in a stream of user uploaded images and videos, many of which were featured on the Bud Light website. And, the final result will be a TV commercial, all filmed at the Up For Whatever! event.
While there were many aspects of this campaign, it’s clear that the cornerstone to their success, from building hype, to capturing the event itself, to the pending TV commercial, all rested upon their use of UGC and customer engagement (not to forget successful integration of all marketing channels and disciplines).
UGC marketing has value beyond the videos, beyond the photos. Which, incidentally, is why Thismoment is proud to be at the forefront of a movement that enables brands to both connect with customers, and drive measurable campaign ROI. Everyday we work with the smartest of the smart marketers who have a story to tell, want to include their customers voice, and know that they can return stronger results if they add an element of authenticity that only their own audience can bring. Bud Light understood the power of UGC, we were humbled by their epic vision and we were more than happy to power the UGC submissions for this campaign.
UGC Marketing Lessons we can all Use
Sure, the Bud Light, Up For Whatever! campaign was brilliant, and in the end it resulted in a really good time for a lot of people. But, that isn’t really the point. At least, that isn’t the point of this article.
The point is that marketers can learn a lot from Bud Light.
No, we do not all have the budget of a major company like Anheuser Busch, but we do have a few things that they had to make a similar campaign work:
- We all have a story
- We all have customers
- We all have the ability to engage
- And, most importantly, we’re all marketers who are willing to try something new to be successful.
What we create doesn’t need to be as grandiose as what we saw from Bud Light. Though that would be great, all we we need is to remember the assets we have, look at the base elements of what made Bud Light successful (creativity, leveraging customers, social media, UGC, etc) and think about how we can do the same with our own brands.
We can all learn from those who do brilliant work, we need only look to the marketing departments at brands like Bud Light and remind ourselves of the work that we can do for our own businesses. And for those of us in B2B marketing, we see how we can help our customers be brilliant with their B2C consumers. Either way, we remind ourselves that marketing is fun, and if we think outside the box now and then we can do something incredible.
I like to think I am Up For Whatever! And, I would have loved to attend the party, but employees of Thismoment are ineligible. Otherwise, I’m confident that I would have been chosen. I missed the party, but relished the opportunity to learn from a great group of marketers (and I had a Bud Light in their honor).