Cannes Lions

Racing in the Life Artois

AB INBEV, London / STELLA ARTOIS / 2022

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Stella Artois has a long history of sponsoring premium sporting events in the physical world, and wanted to build on that heritage in exciting new spaces.

But as the first alcohol brand to enter the Metaverse, this was uncharted territory. How could we make sure this was the landmark activation we wanted it to be?

Could we manage to provide value for everyone involved - Stella Artois as a brand, ZED RUN as a platform and their pre-existing community?

And finally, would we be able to effectively and clearly communicate what we were doing with those who were unfamiliar with this niche space?

Although our status as first-movers would go on to generate incredible financial results, the main objective was to make “Racing In The Life Artois” a pioneering project for both brands and generate a buzz in the crypto community & beyond.

Idea

“Racing In The Life Artois”

We’d bring to life a beautifully crafted collaboration with ZED RUN, the leading horse racing game in the Metaverse, offering players the chance to purchase 50 fully playable thoroughbred NFT horses.

Each would be accompanied with a unique skin to use in-game, as well as a 2D digital artwork with everything inspired by ‘The Life Artois’ brand world.

And of course it’s no good having racehorses without an arena to compete in, so we’d create a beautiful 3D “Racing In The Life Artois” racetrack for players to use their thoroughbreds on, completing a totally immersive branded Metaverse experience.

Given an open canvas to create our brand world, we’d create a look and feel that was true to Stella Artois’ stylish and sophisticated premium aesthetic while retaining a distinctly ZED RUN, Metaverse spirit.

Strategy

The brand were early movers in the NFT space, creating a "never-ending tip" Stella Artois NFT with all proceeds going to out-of-work bar staff who’d suffered during lockdown.

ZED RUN were impressed by our early Web 3.0 work, and as two leaders in our respective spaces we saw eye to eye straight away.

A partnership came naturally with no money changing hands, and we were both intent on turning this into a landmark activation that would push our brands forward while bringing new value to gamers.

Stella Artois would lean on ZED RUN for expertise in the crypto world, while they would benefit from our name and prestige with the result making history.

It’s important to note that the launch coincided with the brand’s annual sponsorship of Royal Ascot, underlining their sporting credentials, and that all this creativity took place six months before Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta announcement.

Execution

We kicked off with a five day OpenSea auction that saw thousands of bids placed on our 50 NFT horses as we established Stella Artois as a desirable brand worth paying for. While there could have been suspicions from the community over our motivations, they found it hugely legitimising to have an established brand recognise the game’s potential.

Aesthetically, what we created wasn’t your run-of-the-mill NFT drop. The visual meeting point of ZED RUN and Stella Artois was elegant and impactful - especially satisfying given every intricate element of this brand integration had to be fully functional in-game as well as looking the part.

6 million people from the ZED RUN community and beyond took a trip to our virtual racecourse with 12,000 races taking place daily.

Right now there are virtual Stella Artois horses entering races, winning money, being traded and coveted all around the world on ZED RUN.

Outcome

Our first-mover status led to staggering value with an initial $10k investment resulting in $800k of sales and a huge buzz within crypto.

Communications around a complicated project had to be clear, so we broke down how deceptively simple it really was: the Metaverse is the future of experiential sports and entertainment and we wanted to continue our involvement in these areas with a best in class partner.

By being first to make that connection, we managed to reach and earn the trust of a totally new, switched-on digital audience while genuinely enriching the ZED RUN platform and earning 100m earned media impressions along the way.

Stella Artois was praised as an innovative first-mover and all funds raised are being reinvested into future NFT projects.

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