Cannes Lions

“Underplayed” Feature Length Documentary

ANOMALY, Toronto / ABINBEV / 2021

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

In 2019 only 5 of the top Billboard 100 DJs were women. The 10 highest paid DJs earned over $272 million. They were all men. No woman has ever made the list.

Shocking statistics that were not being discussed by anyone, let alone brands.

Bud Light Canada - a brand focused on inclusivity, diversity, and music saw this imbalance and challenges female artists encountered and felt an obligation to take action. The brand also lacked a meaning with their largest growth target (Females 19-26) and realized we needed to play a more purposeful role to our consumers and create meaning with our younger drinker through their #1 passion point - music.

The brand had ambitions to shift from traditional paid media into purposeful story-telling, and produce premium content so well-crafted that consumers would seek it out and pay to consume it.

Idea

The brand concepted, produced and released Underplayed, a feature-length documentary film that followed the top female DJs in the world, as they bring much needed attention to the often ignored subject of gender inequality in the music industry. The film guides viewers through the uncomfortable systemic and historical ways women have been pushed out of the industry, their contributions shortchanged and earlier pioneers forgotten.

The 88-minute long documentary presents an energetic portrait of an industry in desperate need of a change and takes an all encompassing look at the exclusion of women DJs from the electronic music scene.

Underplayed documented the first hand experiences of artists including artist REZZ, singer, producer, songwriter and DJ Alison Wonderland, award-winning sister duo Nervo, and a host of other incredible talent.

The documentary became the heartbeat of a 360 campaign that would drive deep meaning and purpose for the brand and it’s consumers.

Strategy

We knew from research that Gen Z feels an inherent responsibility to make the world a better place. 76% said that they have purchased/would consider a brand or product that showed support for the issues the brand supported. The brand also knew the target had become cynical of ads, but that they would align with brands that stood for a deeper social cause.

So Bud Light invested in shining a light on the issue of gender inequality in the music industry and did so through long format storytelling. With this strategy we would be able to entertain and educate our consumers vs interrupt them - as well as drive mass awareness for the inequities rampant in the industry.

Execution

The film was accepted to film festivals around the world, Including Tribeca and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it made its debut. Underplayed was then acquired and distributed by major streaming platforms (Apple, Amazon Prime, Crave).

Outcome

Bud Light’s feature length documentary Underplayed was accepted by some of the most prestigious and culture-driving film festivals in the world, including Tribeca and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it made its global debut. Underplayed was critically acclaimed, receiving a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and was honored with glowing reviews by some of the top documentary film critics in the world. The film has been profiled by leading arts and entertainment publications including Rollingstone, Variety and the Washington Post.

The film was then acquired and distributed globally by major streaming platforms (Apple, Amazon Prime, Crave) and launched on International Women’s Day.

Underplayed sparked important dialogue around how gender disparity happens; a theme that transcends music and finds relevance in many of today’s industries. Most importantly, it has inspired next-generation artists, and industry leaders championing the change, and inspiring a more diverse pool of role models for future generations.

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