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How Budweiser became the top Fifa World Cup brand in India

May 30, 2023 | 6 min read

The campaign won in the Brilliant Use of Advertising category at The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC.



AB InBev’s in-house agency Draftline developed a campaign that localized Budweiser's global Fifa World Cup campaign for the Indian market. The results were a resounding success.

The Idea

Budweiser has been a sponsor of the Fifa World Cup since 1986 and its association is iconic and well-cemented. However, the key objective was to embrace the World Cup in the context of India and integrate the global campaign of the brand – ‘No matter your tunnel, The World is Yours to Take’ – in a manner that would weave into the social fabric of the country. While the campaign idea was global, Budweiser India wanted to create uniquely Indian interpretations of the brand Idea and leverage multiple touchpoints to drive different conversations around football.

Targeting active football lovers was the obvious choice. However, the World Cup gets fans of other sports, casual sports lovers and sports-curious people interested as well, creating a huge opportunity for Budweiser to create salience among a wider audience.

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The Strategy

What keeps fans so engaged in the World Cup? It’s not just the atmosphere of the event, or the victories and the dramas. It’s the hope of a win and the belief that they will witness something extraordinary on the field. Fans are invested in rooting for the teams and players that they follow. They connect with their trials and journey to success and feel inspired when they witness something extraordinary on the field.

Budweiser created a multi-part campaign that had the following legs:

  1. PR Stunt: 100 days before the event’s kick-off, it placed a huge QR code in the middle of Mumbai Football Arena for campaign film The Drop. After scanning it, people were sent to secret locations where Budweiser would drop red boxes; they contained exclusive merchandise, memorabilia signed by brand ambassador Messi, the official football of the Fifa World Cup, access to BudX events and limited-edition Budweiser headphones.

  2. Influencers: Budweiser identified Indian celebrities and influencers who embodied the spirit of the brand and told their stories through a series called Side Tunnel Stories. Artist Shantanu Hazarika, female cricketer Smriti Mandhana and fashion icon Masaba Gupta were all involved alongside brand ambassador Siddhant Chaturvedi.

  3. Content: A documentary showcased Indian football as the underdog and aimed to inspire India to qualify for the next World Cup. Aware that the country was once a formidable force from Asia, the three-part docu-series The Indian Football Story throws light on India’s momentous journey. Indian Football icons Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri were featured in the series.

  4. Live-streaming games: Through high-energy live screenings, trade programs and consumer promotions, Budweiser steadily built excitement, increased trials and gave an unforgettable experience that brought alive the game and created a space for fans to live the game. The World Cup Final was screened live in three cities – Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa. A larger-than-life experience was created.

The Results

The campaign achieved tremendous results and enabled Budweiser to be the No.1 brand in share of buzz when it came to the World Cup. It achieved a 50% share of buzz across all mediums, compared with fellow sponsors Adidas (15%), Hisense (11%) and Coke (3%)

It achieved 1.6bn impressions for the brand across social, digital and PR, making it the biggest brand marketing campaign for the brand – ever.

It achieved a net revenue of $39.35m against a target of $37m (the previous year, net revenue was $22m).

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This campaign won at The Drum Awards for Marketing APAC 2023. Find out more about The Drum’s Global Awards program or head to our case studies hub to read more award-winning stories.

The Drum Awards Awards Case Studies The Drum Awards For Marketing APAC

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