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Volume 23 No. 9
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A-B InBev’s Super plans on tap for seltzer, music fest

Bud Light will have branding on a gondola ride outside Hard Rock Stadium.
Photo: getty images
Bud Light will have branding on a gondola ride outside Hard Rock Stadium.
Photo: getty images
Bud Light will have branding on a gondola ride outside Hard Rock Stadium.
Photo: getty images

For Anheuser-Busch InBev, this year’s Super Bowl activation will be anchored by a familiar tactic, but it also will be implementing a new approach in which the country’s largest brewer will use the nation’s biggest sports event to leverage a handful of its brands, instead of just one or two.

 

Bud Light Hard Seltzer, which officially launches Monday, will be the show pony in and around Miami, with the goal being trial-and-conversion in the rapidly expanding $1 billion-plus alcoholic seltzer market. However, A-B InBev also will be activating against its Bud Light, Babe Rosé wine and Stella Artois brands. Artois will even have its own high-end activation area with music and food in South Beach. Previously, the Super Bowl had been generally restricted to Bud Light, the brand most closely associated with its NFL rights.

However, for larger sponsorships, and the experiential marketing that normally accompanies them, “We’re implementing a full-portfolio strategy now at big events and for experiential, because that just makes sense,” said Nick Kelly, A-B InBev’s vice president, partnerships, beer culture and community.

Expect that kind of full-bore activation for all of the brewer’s biggest sports rights. At July’s MLB All-Star Game — which is staged at an important time of year for any beverage marketer and this year will be in the important Los Angeles market — A-B InBev will undoubtedly still be pushing Bud Light Seltzer, but it will also be leveraging as many as five other brands, including Budweiser, craft brew Golden Road and Michelob Ultra.

Outside of Hard Rock Stadium, which will host the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, Bud Light will get branding on a new $3 million gondola ride, set to open in time for the game. Within the facility, A-B InBev will leverage its exclusive rights with the host Miami Dolphins.

A-B InBev also will be entertaining 600 retailers and wholesalers at a converted “Bud Light Hotel.” The company has been staging a tricked-out hotel at the Super Bowl since it was last in Miami in 2010. Perhaps the most memorable came for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014, when it converted a 1,062-foot Norwegian Cruise Lines ship into a hotel accommodating 3,000 guests for the game, played just outside New York City at MetLife Stadium. 

For the second consecutive year, A-B InBev is sponsoring the Super Bowl Music Festival, in conjunction with On Location Experiences. This year, it will get the benefit of some added content, with a one-hour TV special, featuring some other acts from the festival. The show will run for one hour starting at 11 p.m. ET the night before the game on Fox, which will broadcast the Super Bowl for the ninth time.