Cannes Lions

Contract for Change

FCB CHICAGO, Chicago / ABINBEV / 2020

Case Film
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Anheuser-Busch strongly believes businesses should serve their consumers, partners, and the world they operate in. That’s why sustainability is at the core of everything the company does. In 2018, this belief inspired Anheuser-Busch to create Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, the first mass organic beer in America. An instant success. But as the need for organic ingredients grew, we confronted a shocking reality: barely 1% of U.S. farmland is organic and farmers were unable to make the organic transition–even though they want nothing more than to grow natural food again. Building on the mantra “do good, do well”, Anheuser-Busch saw an opportunity to leverage its economical might as the world’s largest brewer and to lead the change towards a healthier, more sustainable, organic farming system. But to do so, it needed to call upon all American farmers.


Contract for Change is a revolutionary agreement between the world’s largest brewer–Anheuser-Busch–and American farmers, created to change the future of America’s agriculture. It sets farmers up for a successful organic transition by addressing the three biggest barriers they confront:

•Farmers sign today and are guaranteed that Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold will be their first organic customer after the 3-year transition.

•Anheuser-Busch commits to buy crops grown during the transition for its yearly production of non- organic beers at a 25% higher price, so farmers don’t lose money.

•The contract provides in-depth training in organic farming practices, through the most trusted agricultural organizations such as the Organic Trade Association and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Contract for Change can be implemented by every company in the food & beverage industry, actively reversing the damage done to our farmland and ecosystems, while creating a healthier diet for all Americans.


We spent time with farmers to really understand their situation. We learned that we needed to come up with a concrete, scalable and long-term solution that at the same time could be communicated easily to the farming community. That solution was Contract for Change.

To develop the contract, we brought Anheuser-Busch agronomists, marketers, supply chain managers and legal teams together with the most important and trusted agricultural organizations, such as The Organic Trade Association, the Idaho Barley Commission, Sustainable Food Lab and the United States Department of Agriculture.

We knew Contract for Change was newsworthy at its core, so we pitched our story to agricultural and sustainability publications, as well as mainstream business and trade outlets, using in-depth information on the program, data facts about the problem, interviews with farmers and key figures within Anheuser-Busch, and a selection of multimedia assets such as photos of participating farmers and their contract.


After a short pilot in 2019, Contract for Change was offered to all American farmers through a hyper-targeted approach towards the farming community. Anheuser-Busch agronomists partnered with organic trade groups to discuss the program in their communities. In support we launched a hyper-targeted campaign via local media (radio, print, and wild-postings). Facebook ads, email, and agricultural publications spread the word, and we even mailed personalized copies of the Contract for Change to farmers across America. PR outreach led to national coverage from agricultural publications like Organic Insider and Green America, as well as mainstream media such as Marketwatch, Business Insider and Forbes.

Through a special phone number and website, farmers could inquire and apply for the contract.

The targeted campaign ended in July 2020, but Contract for Change is still being offered today and will be for many years to come, helping secure the future of America’s organic farmland.


Contract For Change proves that creative ideas can transform an entire industry–and millions of lives.

175 farmers have already signed the contract and 104,000 acres–4% of America’s total barley farmland–have begun transitioning to organic. Contract For Change will triple organic barley acreage by 2023, marking an unprecedented contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: smaller carbon footprints, improved soil health, and cleaner air and water.

Once certified organic, these farms will grow natural ingredients for generations, improving the world’s access not only to organic beer but all kinds of foods which help reduce the risks of cancer, allergic disease, and obesity.

By 2023 the brand projects to expand production by 25%, keeping pace with the explosive demand for this groundbreaking beer. Contract for Change will be offered for years to come, effectively securing the future of America’s farmland.

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