Cannes Lions

Bud Ground Cooler

BETC, Paris / BUDWEISER / 2023

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Overview

Background

With the rising global temperatures, the demand for cold beverages has increased by 14%. And global warming amplifies existing poor living conditions: in developing countries, that are now regularly affected by heat waves, 48% of the territory lacks constant access to electricity, and therefore proper cooling solutions. It is a pity, as cold beverages have been proven to help reduce sweat output and lower body temperature.

Budweiser, in partnership with engineering studio frog, decided to stand by aspiring storekeepers by providing them with a sustainable solution to cool all types of drinks without the need of a power supply: the Ground Cooler.

Currently, beer cooling represents approximately 25% of AB InBev’s carbon emission - which the Bud Ground Cooler could contribute to alleviating.

Idea

Budweiser’s Ground Cooler is the first cooling system that goes below 6°C without electricity. Budweiser has created this low-tech device to help entrepreneurs and aspiring store owners in developing countries, where 48% of the territory lacks a consistent access to electricity, and thus, sustainable cooling solutions. With this innovation, the ground becomes the refrigerator. We have modernized traditional Egyptian and Indus techniques: geothermal, evaporation and acceleration of cold air, known as the Venturi effect. Despite numerous attempts to update these, Budweiser’s Ground Cooler is the only solution that can cool beverages below 6°C without the need for any power supply.

Strategy

Budweiser, as a brand tailored for the ambitious and those who dare to try, decided to support aspiring store owners who faced obstacles in their entrepreneurship. We know how access to electricity cannot be taken for granted in many parts of the world. We wanted to provide those in regions with electricity scarcity or shortage with sustainable cooling solutions. To do that, we focused on researching existing techniques that had been around for thousands of years and partnered with an engineering lab to combine and modernize them in a low-tech approach. The objective? Allowing entrepreneurs the access to sustainable cooling solutions. And, by allowing locals to meet around the Bud Ground Cooler to share a drink and spend time together, we also made sure to facilitate high-energy, federating occasions, that are key to Budweiser’s DNA.

Execution

Instead of investing in traditional media like billboards, Budweiser decided to use funds to install the Bud Ground Cooler alongside locals that genuinely benefited from the innovation. It was designed as a test-and-learn project, with the objective to become a sustainable solution for entrepreneurs in all regions with electricity access difficulties. After the first tests in Morocco proved the device could properly cool all types of beverages to the perfect drinking temperature, the objective is to implement it in other countries, such as Turkey, that has already signed up to the initiative. To achieve the scaling aim, the project has entered the 100+ Sustainability Accelerator at AB InBev.

Outcome

The first tests carried in Morocco validated Budweiser’s Ground Cooler is the first-ever device that can cool drinks down to below 6°C, making it a viable solution for all entrepreneurs in regions with electricity access difficulties. The main objective is now to scale it, which could drastically improve the presence of the brand in developing regions. Indeed, countries in the Middle East and Africa are already showing interest in the project.

Finally, after 1 year of hard reflection, development and launching the project for the world late April, in less than one week we garnered more 100 million impressions.

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