Cannes Lions



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Every country has its national sport. In the U.S it’s baseball. The sport is so popular, that in a recent survey, 22 million Americans admitted to taking a “sick day” to celebrate the season’s opening games. As the official beer of Major League Baseball, Anheuser-Busch saw a massive opportunity.

The popularity of its flagship brand, Budweiser, was slipping with men 35+. New beers were everywhere, challenging the brand’s legacy with younger consumers 21-34. Sales had been declining for nearly a decade. Anheuser-Busch sought to re-energize the brand, improve perception and consideration among both audiences.

So Budweiser tapped into Americans’ love of baseball, rallying fans and beer drinkers to Make Opening Day a National Holiday.

Launched with a petition, we needed 100,000 signatures to score a White House response.

Amplified by major league Hall-of-Famer and charismatic brand ambassador Ozzie Smith, the campaign kicked-off with a national media tour, followed by a three-part video series, custom local content and massive social media activation.

While at its core a promotional campaign, Make Opening Day a National Holiday was truly a movement that resonated with avid and casual fans alike, trending on Facebook in six hours, driving 3 million video views and delivering 230 million earned media impressions. Additionally, key brand health metrics rose.

Sales volume increased an astounding 46% year over year during March/April.

Yes, you read that right.

(And 100,000 signatures later, our petition made its way to the White House. President Obama then sent it to Congress. And we’re still waiting.)


The movement kicked off with an ESPN/MLB media exclusive calling on fans to sign the Make Opening Day a National Holiday petition at

To rally support – and to score our required 100,000 signatures – we enlisted the lovable, credible Ozzie Smith as brand ambassador. Via video, cross-country media blitz and SMT, Ozzie issued a spirited call-to-action. We also created a baseball-themed infographic to further excite fans.

But we needed to ensure people were still talking about (and drinking) Budweiser by Opening Day.

Next, an RMT to tap into consumers’ love of sports radio; a video of Ozzie on the road, rallying enthusiasts to join the cause; customized local print ads; player/coach video vignettes; and social media activation.

During Opening Week, Budweiser thanked the petitions’ 100,000 signees for their support; debuted a national TV spot “Always There” with exclusive New York Times coverage; and corresponded with the Obama administration.


By all metrics, the campaign was a home run:

Business: Sales volume was up an impressive 46% versus the prior year’s same time period (March/April). Additionally, category share was up 4% during the campaign, and up 12% during Opening Week.

Brand: Brand health metrics rose for all consumers 21-65, specifically those 35+: high-quality brand +7.25%; traditions and heritage +4.35%; authentic brand +4.2%.

Campaign: Trended on Facebook within 6 hours; garnered more than 3 million video views; and drove nearly 1,000 earned media stories (including coverage in all 24 MLB markets), with 230 million+ media impressions.

The petition quickly garnered more than 100,000 signatures. The White House responded swiftly, and passionately, but acknowledged that Congress is responsible for declaring national holidays.

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