Brave Brands awards: Budweiser & Wieden ‘bring home the Bud’ amid World Cup beer bans
Two days before the 2022 Fifa World Cup kicked off in Qatar, a beer ban bombshell hit, leaving Budweiser in a frothy situation. What happened next? A creative pivot, a legendary beer giveaway and an award-winning campaign from Wieden+Kennedy New York.
Each year, the International ANDY Awards team up with the Advertising Club of New York hold the Brave Brands awards, celebrating brands that have undertaken bold, risk-taking projects alongside their agency partners. This year, the honor was bestowed on Budweiser and its creative agency Wieden+Kennedy for its gutsy effort to make the most of a tricky circumstance during the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Two days before the tournament kickoff, host country Qatar suddenly banned the sale of beer in its stadiums, leaving Budweiser with a warehouse full of brews that couldn’t be sold and a global marketing plan, four years in the making, that couldn’t be used.
Making the most out of a tricky situation, Budweiser tapped Wieden+Kennedy New York to devise a new plan: ‘Bring Home the Bud’ (#BringHomeTheBud), a multi-channel campaign that pledged to give away all the beer to the winning team, Argentina, during a victory celebration.
It was Bring Home The Bud that earned Budweiser and Wieden+Kennedy a Brave Brand distinction from the Ad Club of New York at Advertising Week on Monday. Selected by The ANDY Awards jury, this honor is awarded to brands and their agencies for displaying exceptional creative courage.
Rafa Melo, Jeffrey Rozman and Nate Richards, creatives at Wieden+Kennedy, share their remarks about winning the award: “We’re humbled that Bring Home The Bud continues to be recognized for its creative impact and excellence by our industry peers. It’s a testament to the hard work and thinking that went into every pivot, change and real-time decision that was made for this campaign. We couldn’t be more proud to have our work be featured here with Ad Club & ANDY.”
Budweiser, the official World Cup sponsor since 1986, was faced with a novel challenge when Qatar initiated the beer ban. Within 48 hours of the announcement, Wieden+Kennedy’s creatives scrapped everything they had planned for the last three years for Budweiser and started anew.
The brewer’s first step was to acknowledge on Twitter the “awkwardness” of the situation. Once the media picked the story up, the team doubled down by telling the world that all of the World Cup beer would go to the winning country. “Little did we know that one simple tweet would start a global fan movement for free beer called #BringHomeTheBud,” the creatives say.
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Then came the out-of-home work, which entailed turning ordinary beer shipping containers into billboards and dropping them in city squares across the globe.
Throughout World Cup, the team say they fanned the flames by encouraging fans to not only cheer for their teams but to will home the biggest victory celebration the world has ever seen. The real-time campaign had to evolve with the tournament itself, from creating hundreds of custom assets and on-the-ground activations to dropping crates of beer around the globe. “It became about more than just ‘free beer’ — it became a symbol of pride in ultimate achievement.”
After Argentina won against France, the brand upheld its promise and took to the streets for the team’s victory celebration with over 1 million beers.
Despite the tumultuous journey the creative team embarked on to launch Bring Home the Bud, their dedication bore immediate fruit as Budweiser swiftly became the most talked-about brand during the World Cup. The campaign garnered a staggering 255 billion impressions and secured over 70% share of voice during the biggest sporting event on Earth.
While reflecting on Bring Home the Bud, Wieden+Kennedy’s creatives describe the effort as a master class in honest execution and authenticity, as the brand and agency worked together every day for the whole tournament, no matter the match or timezones.
“Rather than redefine what our role in a ‘Budweiser-less’ World Cup could be, we boldly and courageously held hands and doubled-down that Budweiser’s best move was to be honest (‘This is awkward…’) and have the courage to cement our legacy in football.”
As for other marketers looking to create impactful, award-winning work, the trio advise: “Nothing is more impactful than the truth — and sometimes the truth is messy. Marketers should lean into the cards that are dealt during a crisis and see how they can creatively turn their worst scenario into the brand’s biggest comeback. Everyone loves an underdog story.”
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