Beer brand Budweiser will launch a global advertising and social media campaign on Friday, centered around a World Cup-inspired online reality TV series. The "Bud United" series will follow 32 football fans - one representing each nation competing in the World Cup finals - living together in a house in South Africa for the duration of the tournament, watching each match, and exploring the country together. The FIFA World Cup Tournament begins Friday.
Video content from the house will be published daily via a dedicated YouTube page, and promoted worldwide via television ads, search ads, an extensive online display campaign, and across social networks including Facebook and Twitter. The concept was created and is being executed by Omnicom agencies DDB and Tribal DDB.
"Budweiser is doing everything we can to unite beer drinkers during the tournament, and this is a great way for us to connect with people around the world across multiple layers," said Andrew Sneyd. Budweiser's global advertising director.
As each team is eliminated from the tournament, so too will the corresponding contestant from the Bud United house; the winner will attend the World Cup final on July 11 to present the man of the match trophy. Budweiser is sponsoring the man of the match awards, which recognize the most valuable player of each match. For the first time, FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) and Budweiser are also enabling fans around the world to choose the winner of the award by voting online or via mobile SMS during each match.
"It's amazing that FIFA has allowed us to democratize the man of the match trophy, and to let the world decide who the best player of any given match is," said Sneyd.
Complementing the main Bud United social network presence, each contestant will also update his own Facebook page and Twitter account in their native language, enabling contestants "to interact with and represent fans around the world," Sneyd said. Users will also be invited to influence events in the house, as well as content, via polls on the Bud United YouTube page.
Alongside social networking activity, Budweiser has invested in what Sneyd described as one of the brands "most comprehensive" global ad buys to date. Alongside TV spots in 20 countries, the campaign will feature a major online element including search ads around key World Cup-related terms, and rich media and online display ads across a range of sports-related sites in local markets, all driving users to the Bud United site. In the U.S., for example, the brand will takeover the ESPN homepage tomorrow, to coincide with the start of the tournament.
Though the ad campaign and the Bud House itself officially begin tomorrow, search ads are already driving traffic to the site, and the campaign's Facebook page has already been "liked" by over 60,000 users. The page also features an application enabling users to change their profile picture to one "painted" in their team's colors. Sneyd said over 60,000 users made use of the app in just 30 hours.
Other offline activity will also include display ads across stadiums in South Africa, as well as video content being aired in New York's Times Square and similar public venues elsewhere in the world.
Though the campaign has been designed to last the duration of the Word Cup only, Sneyd said he "would bet" on the concept being extended beyond the tournament.
Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT