Budweiser has activated its Russia World Cup 2018 marketing campaign, 'Light Up the World Cup', which it maintains is the biggest spend ever invested by AB InBev.
Miguel Patricio AB InBev's global chief marketing officer branded it the "largest commercial campaign in the history of AB InBev". While spend was not revealed, the brand did say it will push the work in more than 50 countries. Patricio said the tournament is "estimated to be the most watched event in the history of the human race, we are proud to return again".
The US beer brand distanced itself from issues stemming from the event being hosted in Russia. Complaints about the treatment of LGBT people, free speech and the country's tensions with the West form a large part of this.
Brian Perkins global marketing vice president of Budweiser, said: "We have been working with the World Cup for 32 years, it is not a political moment." This view is consistent with that put forward by top sports marketers talking to The Drum too.
Perkins reflected this: "Our job is to bring more people together and the World Cup does that more than any other event. It is our biggest opportunity to do our job."
Perkins estimates that 3.2bn people will tune in to watch the tournament at least once. This dizzying viewership claim is consistent with other research on the popularity of the tournament.
The company has served as the tournament's official beer partner since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Now it also has additional touch points. It now also has a branded Budweiser Man of the Match trophy.
Perkins said it was "a fantastic way to celebrate the best players who lit up the pitch," he added that it also "brings fans into the action". Fans will be able to vote for the best player on the pitch for every match. The winner will receive the trophy, more media exposure for delivering an award.
And finally, the whole campaign is weighed upon the hero film, which sees striking red drones swarm Russia to deliver the chilled bottles of the Official Beer Partner's finest. Perkins said: "It is the most energetic beer delivery of all time."
The beer brand's lead agency Anomaly headed up the World Cup campaign which kicked off almost a month before a ball is kicked to best capture the excitement of the games.
The video ad will run on shorter formats on TV and social media. The drones will also likely tie into experiential efforts from the firm.
Vote for the ad in The Drum's Creative Works and check out our World Cup coverage here.