Campaign US BIG Awards 2021: Entertainment

Courtside — AB InBev, Michelob Ultra and FCB New York

Courtside — AB InBev, Michelob Ultra and FCB New York

In a year lacking live entertainment and devoid of live sports spectators, Michelob Ultra still managed to connect with fans in stadiums.

The campaign was just one example of the way brands pivoted in response to COVID-19. Right before the pandemic, Michelob Ultra had become the official beer sponsor of the NBA in a bid to appeal to young, health-minded urban drinkers, a demographic for which the light beer significantly under-indexed. Given that nearly two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 44 are fans of the league, it felt like a perfect fit.

The pandemic upended any expectations for a normal season. However, instead of divesting its sponsorship, Michelob Ultra adapted, repurposing empty stadiums as a platform to broadcast real-time player, fan and broadcaster interactions. By partnering with Microsoft, the brand also created a virtual digital experience that transported fans into the NBA bubble. To get in on the experience, fans scanned their Michelob Ultra bottles to win virtual tickets to 124 games live-broadcasted from the Orlando-based NBA bubble.

The campaign resulted in a significant lift in brand consideration, reach and share of voice, as well as an impressive 32% increase in sales.

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