Bud builds a bubble for sports fans

Who: Labatt Breweries, with Anomaly for creative, Vizeum for media, Veritas for PR and Salt XC for the physical activation.

 What: The Bud Bubble, a new campaign offering a chance to win a week-long paid vacation in a dream home, watching non-stop sports with three friends.  

When & Where: The promotion started this weekend and people have until Oct. 8 to enter. It’s being pushed on social—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. While there’s no TV advertising for the Bud Bubble, a new brand spot marking the return of the NFL did debut this weekend (see it below).

Why: Budweiser invests heavily in sports, with marketing built around the theme of getting together with friends to watch the game. Last year, that platform in Canada included the Chief Hockey Officer—a “job” that paid the lucky winner $50,000 to watch hockey all year.

But Budweiser had to radically change its marketing playbook this year because of COVID. At first, there was no sports, now all the sports are happening at once—though for the most part fans aren’t allowed to attend games and sports bars aren’t operating as normal.

“The idea of bringing friends together to watch sports as a strategy did not change, the creative execution obviously did change,” said Mike D’Agostini, director of marketing, Budweiser Canada.

How: Budweiser and Anomaly created the Bud Bubble, a tricked-out dream house for sports addicts who can spend a week doing nothing but watching sports while also getting paid for it ($5,000 total for the group). The promotion is being pushed by ads featuring popular former NHLer turned sports media personality Paul Bissonnette, AKA Biz Nasty, who was the face of the Chief Hockey Officer campaign last year.

To win, people have to create a video showing their love of sports and the three friends they’d bubble with. The videos have to be shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #BudBubble. “After seeing great success with our Budweiser Chief Hockey Officer campaign, we wanted to double down and do it during a time where it has been incredibly stressful to partake in something as simple and important as watching sports with your friends,” said Neil Blewett, creative director at Anomaly.

How tricked out is the house? According to a release: “A sports theatre to watch sports 24/7, gaming station, ball hockey, basketball nets, football field, tailgating on Sundays, personal chef, gym, and all the sports swag a fan could desire.”

Planning in a pandemic: “If you have a strong strategy—which we believe we do in sports, which is all about bringing friends together to watch the game—the creative execution is the piece you have to pivot to bring that to life,” said D’Agostini.

When did they pivot this year? Shortly after the major leagues announced their return to play schedule in June, said D’Agostini. “We were really at the mercy of the different leagues… [but] once the dust settled, shortly after that we landed on the Bud Bubble.” 

Any idea when next NHL season will return? “I have no inside information,” said D’Agostini.


David Brown