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This is how Budweiser captured the moment of Messi’s record-breaking goal


By Awards Analyst | writer

June 15, 2022 | 4 min read

Copa90 won the Brand Collaboration or Partnership categories at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022 for its work for AB InBev, as well as previously winning in the FMCG or Consumer Goods, Best Integrated Campaign and Travel, Leisure or Sports categories at The Drum Awards for Content 2021. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project...

The brief

Footballer Lionel Messi was on the verge of breaking Pele’s 46-year-old record of 643 goals for a single club. A historic sporting moment that Budweiser wanted to celebrate. The challenge, though, was to not get lost in the noise but to create something that drove the conversation.

Budweiser wanted to raise awareness of its association with the iconic player and own the 644-goal moment over its other brand partners by creating a voltage spike in conversation with its product at its heart.

The idea

To cut through the noise and widen the campaign appeal, Copa90 decided to focus on an exclusive union of athletes who share a collective bond, the goalkeepers. Without them there would be no record.

Budweiser decided to celebrate all 160 keepers Messi had scored against with a custom Budweiser for every one of his 644 goals. Each was personalized to the keeper it was scored against, with several receiving multiple bottles.

The goalkeepers would then have the opportunity to tell their own stories through Budweiser’s platform, commemorating their part in history and driving local relevance. This widened the appeal of the campaign beyond one man and club and engaged football fans across the globe.


50 partners from 11 markets were lined up across Messi fan groups, Argentina and Barcelona fans and broader football fans. While people at home were scrolling through feeds, the reactive content needed to be native to online platforms, thumb-stopping and easily shareable.

Specially-designed labels were developed using direct object printing and numbered from one to 644 to represent every goal scored in Messi’s club career to date. The bottles, which also had a limited retail run, were marked with several unique flourishes including a ‘Messi King of Football’ tag and a revamped version of the Budweiser creed.

A global media toolkit was created for publishers, with a robust media and influencer plan to ensure maximum earned exposure. As the record was broken, the toolkit and bespoke bottles were distributed to ensure posting on social media within three days, with 50+ influencer partners and over 100 goalkeepers primed.

Goalkeepers such as Buffon, Casillas, Kepa and Oblak shared their bottles online and toasted to Messi on social media, telling their story via exclusive interviews

The results

The campaign saw memes spiraling off of influencer posts, kickstarting a mass of coverage across the world, with specific clubs and locations tailoring the story to reflect that of their favorite goalkeepers.

Owning 40% of all conversation around the record with zero paid media, Budweiser became the number one most talked about drink globally over the winter holiday having generated 1,200+ news articles across 84 countries, with 3 billion earned impressions. The campaign returned $20m of social media value back to the brand as well as online search for Budweiser doubling on December 24 compared to the past 30-day average.

The campaign also generated reaction videos created by football fan pages on YouTube and a huge array of memes relating to the campaign and fans creating their own bottles, sparking its own coverage.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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Copa90 is a football media business. Past credits of the company include the UK web drama Kate Modern, which is a spin off of the American web series called lonelygirl15.

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