COPA90, London / AB INBEV / 2021
Lionel Messi was on the verge of breaking Pele’s 46-year-old record of 643 goals for a single club. A historic sporting moment. Moments like these represent opportunities for brands to be a part of an iconic celebration, but the challenge is to not get lost in the noise and to create something that drives the conversation, rather than merely being part of it. Budweiser wanted to raise awareness of their association with the iconic player, and own the 644 goal moment over his other brand partners by creating a voltage spike in conversation with their product at its heart.
To cut through the noise and widen the campaign appeal, we flipped the script by focusing on an exclusive union of athletes that share a collective bond and have the utmost respect for the unbelievable achievement. The goalkeepers. As the last line of defence, without them, there would be no record. We knew the keepers were unified in their respect for Messi, which acted as a catalyst for a collective movement. We would celebrate all 160 keepers Messi had scored against, with a custom Budweiser for every one of his 644 goals, each personalised to the keeper it was scored against, celebrating their part in pushing Messi to greatness. They would have the opportunity to tell their own stories through our platform, commemorating their part in history and driving local relevance. This widened the appeal of the campaign beyond one man and club and engaged fans of across the globe.
Social listening showed that Messi created huge conversation spikes. Not only was there a lot of keepers that he had scored against, they had the utmost respect for him and weren’t often given a voice during these moments. We needed a creative way to make them part of the record.
50 partners from 11 markets were lined up across a spectrum of audiences from Messi fan groups, Argentina and Barcelona fans and broader football fans. Insights and data from previous Budweiser activity identified partners that had an existing affinity to Budweiser, whilst also leveraging partners indexed to competitors.
Preparation was key, with asset adaptations created for every social platform. With people at home scrolling through their feeds, the ‘reactive’ content needed to be native to online platforms, thumb stopping, and easily shareable. Localised copy ensured local relevance, whilst a range of content generated campaign longevity beyond the moment itself.
Budweiser started the countdown ahead of everyone else, from five goals out.
Budweiser owned channels posted thumb-stopping social content, which Messi then shared in one of his highest ever performing brand posts on Instagram.
Bespoke bottles and a media toolkit were distributed globally as the record was broken to ensure posting on social within three days, with 50+ influencer partners and over 100 goalkeepers primed. Goalkeepers such as Buffon, Casillas, Kepa and Oblak shared receipt of their bottle and toasting to Messi on social, telling their story via exclusive interviews with global football titles in addition.
Then we let the world respond. The campaign took on a life of its own, with memes spiralling off of influencer posts, kickstarting an avalanche of coverage across the world with specific clubs/locations tailoring the story to reflect that of their favourite goalkeepers. The campaign became unmissable across social, news and media outlets.
Without any paid media support, Budweiser became the #1 most talked about drink globally over the Christmas holiday. Owning 40% of all conversation around the record and with zero paid media, it generated 1,200+ news articles across 84 countries, with 3bn earned impressions.
With over 26m views on social media and 1m engagements, the campaign returned $20m of social media value back to the brand. Online search for Budweiser (overall) doubled on the 24th December compared to the past 30 day average.
Budweiser had 95% SOV in online articles compared to other Messi associated brands, with 30% of all articles including Budweiser in the headline. Budweiser achieved more headline news articles than adidas did total articles.
The campaign also generated reaction videos created by football fan pages on YouTube and a huge array of memes relating to the campaign and fans creating their own bottles, sparking its own coverage.