Budweiser is one of several beer brands using their sponsorship rights to help consumers and football fans a chance to get closer to the action by aggregating their collective output and turning it into image and video creative.
The FA Cup with Budweiser is the ultimate tournament for optimists, the competition where dreams can come true – whether through a giant killing in the third round, or a last-minute goal at Wembley.
This year Budweiser is celebrating The FA Cup by documenting the tournament with fans photos. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching the game at home, in your local pub, or live in the stadium, Budweiser wants to celebrate your match day experience. The local boozer, your favourite pie stand, or your pair of lucky socks – they want to see it all.
As part of this campaign, Budweiser is asking fans from all over the country to share their FA Cup photos, by tagging them #tothedream on Instagram, Twitter or via the Budweiser UK Facebook page.
In return, Budweiser is offering every fan who submits a photo the chance for their shot to appear in an epic FA Cup fan film, which will be broadcast live on ITV just before the final kicks off. They’ll also showcase chosen fans’ images on Wembley Way – and in the stadium. Plus, all the images will be hosted in an online gallery.
The two minute Man City v Wigan FA Cup TV film made up of fan photography tweeted to #tothedream from the 2012/13 tournament tells the story of this season’s FA Cup from the fan’s perspective and continues Budweiser’s commitment to bring The FA Cup closer to fans.
Over the course of the competition thousands of photos have been submitted via Twitter using #tothedream. The hashtag was also used to aggregate conversation around The FA Cup.
The use of a 120-second advert slot, normally reserved for its World Cup and Super Bowl advertising campaigns, marks this epic fan film as a first for Budweiser. The film will aired on TV in the last commercial break on both ITV & ESPN before kick-off.
The film was also be shown on the big screens at Wembley before kick-off.
Budweiser has built on the use of technology and social media as part of its FA Cup sponsorship, from the live streaming of early round games in season one, to placing ‘Phoneographers’ – amateur photographers who shoot entirely on smartphones – pitch side at Wembley for the Semi-Finals. The sponsors also offered fans the chance to win Final tickets and other prizes through an Augmented Reality activated On-Pack promotion earlier in the season.
Iain Newell, Budweiser’s UK Marketing Director, said: “We are really excited to have captured some of the great moments shared throughout this season’s competition through the fans. The film illustrates our commitment to bringing the beautiful game closer to the fans, and through this film we think we’ve captured a truly great season of FA Cup action.”
As the tournament progressed and final moved ever closer, additional elements and tweaks to the campaign came on stream.
So, for instance, Budweiser has selected two ‘phoneographers’ – amateur photographers who shoot solely on smartphones – to capture the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
Oliver Nielsen, who runs the popular Twitter feed @awaydays_, and Ope Odueyungbo, an amateur Instagram photographer who has accumulated 47,000 followers in two years, have been selected by the brand to cover the two matches. Both will be given the same accreditation as professional photographers (i.e. pitch-side), and will be responsible for capturing, sharing and editing the action as it happens.
All images will be shared on twitter, under the #tothedream hashtag. Fans are also encouraged to tweet in their own photos by following @BudweiserUK and using the same hashtag. The best images will then be used in a 120 second ‘fan film TV advert’, which will air before the FA Cup final on 11 May.
An online gallery on the brand’s Facebook displays a timeline of all images uploaded to date.
Being genuinely compelling and showing an understanding of tradition and culture were key parts of the brand’s challenge to create an impact as an American brand in a classically British competition.
Earlier campaigns, including Club Futures, sought to tap into grassroots football as a means of gaining acceptance amongst fans across the country.
Building on this, the most recent campaign aims to incorporate the fans further – with a big-spend, all-inclusive 120 second TV advert featuring crowdsourced images from throughout the season.
Budweiser isn’t the first brand to feature fans in their ads (remember Costa Coffee’s Heads, AAMI’s Rhonda or Qantas’s You’re the Reason we Fly?) but it’s a smart way to remind people of the brand’s support throughout the season, through the fans’ perspective.
This is also what the Phoneographers campaign intends to do, yet there are some pretty-clear problems with the execution here. Smartphone cameras may be pretty impressive nowadays, but they really can’t compete with the telephoto lenses of professional photographers, which are required to get crisp, detailed shots from a distance.
Rather than compete with these images, couldn’t the brand have offered exclusive access to the social photographers in the lead up to the games? Or could they have documented the ‘behind-the-scenes’ goings-on at the Home of Football?
Budweiser has purposefully tapped into the existing fan-base of two popular social-media figures, so should benefit from a good deal of exposure on Twitter and Instagram, but we can’t help but feel that they could have been given a brief that offered a truly unique take on the events, not a series of shots that have no chance of competing with the professional images taken at the matches