Cannes Lions

Under Pressure

GUT, Mexico City / ABINBEV / 2022

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Supporting Content

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The wellness trend is everywhere; social media, blogs, t-shirts, reality shows, etc. But when it comes to sports, it seems as if the wellness culture falls short and is replaced by a toxic fitness narrative willing to push your limits at the point of injuries, self-neglect, and emotional trauma. Adressing this became Michelob Ultra’s next mission to tackle yet one more wellness convention.

The brief was simple, how can we flip the narrative out there from sacrifice to enjoyment as sport industry outsider? Our goal wasn’t only to address this important issue, but to take over the media coverage to draw attention to the problem by partnering up with key media leaders and professional athletes. This would help Michelob Ultra keep spreading it’s brand purpose and connect meaningfully with our target consumer.

Idea

The idea of the campaign is to highlight the pressure that brands, media and social networks are putting on our athletes. For them, we created three images with three of the most pressured athletes in Mexico, which show what hashtags, headlines and sports slogans can represent in the lives of athletes.

These images reached every corner of Mexico, from the front pages of the most important sports newspapers in the country, to the biggest skyscrapers.

In addition, we created a commercial that expresses the opposite stance to what sports brands have been communicating for years, with the idea of giving a message of relief from the pressure and reminding athletes that they never have to sacrifice everything and that, at the end of the day, it's only worth it if they enjoy it.

Strategy

When looking for the culprits of the problem, it seemed impossible to truly recognize. But in reality, it's the media, brands and even fans on social media who are putting way too much pressure onto our professional athletes and then spreading to the rest who are just doing what they can to maintain a balanced lifestyle: our target.

We call them Balance Seekers; 34-45 y/o adults ready to make better decisions for their wellbeing, but scared of pushing themselves over the limit to achieve fitness culture’s unrealistic expectations. They would not only deeply relate with our campaign, but carry our message further.

To reach them, we needed a strong communication’s plan that could not only shake the complacency with toxic pressure by taking over the media coverage, but also impact our audience on digital and exteriors to instate a new norm centered on enjoyment.

Execution

This wasn’t just a regular campaign but a breaking point in sports culture and entertainment that needed to be addressed. Being an outsider to the industry, meant we needed to find the key partners in media and the correct protagonists who suffered the effects first hand. So for four weeks, that’s what we did.

Our first move was to release our main print pieces through the media, our professional athlete’s digital platforms, and exteriors. Followed by a press conference attended by our main protagonists to talk about their personal experiences and launch our hero film and OOH executions, set to redefine the popular brand’s messaging which promotes toxic pressure in sports and instate a new mindset.

In the meantime, our key media partners spread the word and sparked the conversation online, accompanied by our paid digital executions and our Michelob Squad the campaign message for amplification

Outcome

We broke attendance records for a post-pandemic brand press conference.

With the participation of 10 of the most renowned Mexican athletes, including Mexico's National soccer team goalkeeper and Olympic Medallists, we were able to bring together the four leading national newspapers to launch our campaign. As a result, a commotion in other media news led to great additional coverage in earned media estimated at +2M USD in the four weeks of the campaign.

We provoked heated participation of the public, who debated about the pressure on Social Media, reaching a 5.9 Engagement Rate on our social channels, which surpassed the average interaction for any brand.

We reached 36 million people with 86% media attention.

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