Budweiser Ice Hockey ‘Red Lights’: Internet Of Things

A red glow is emitted from windows of homes across Canada, buts its ‘ice’ not ‘vice’ that’s putting on red lights across the country.


Budweiser’s ‘Red Lights’ initiative, sees the beer brand use the Super Bowl as the launch platforms for a marketing programme based around wi-fi enabled replica ice hockey goal lights.


These red lights are iconic to ice hockey loving Canadians as they feature behind goals in hockey rinks and they spin and flash (accompanied by a celebratory horn) whenever the home team scores.


The Budweiser campaign, launched with a 60-second TV spot running in Canada during the Super Bowl broadcast and subsequently supported by 30-second cut-downs, offers fans the chance to have a replica light in their own home.


The ‘Perfect Timing’ commercial was developed by agency Anomaly and features a group of fans anxiously watching the game at home and Budweiser employees packing up the light, driving to the house and installing it just in time for the game-winning goal.



It also introduces a new Budweiser character, Ron Kovacs, a fictional and fanatical hockey fan who is credited with creating the Red Light. Kovacs life story is unveiled via a series of webfilms hosted on Budweiser’s Facebook page and told across Twitter at @BudRedLights.


Linked via Wi-Fi to live hockey games, fans activate the light through a free mobile app (for iPhone and Android), choose their favourite NHL team and the light will sit sleeping in your house and will flash and spin and the horn will sound whenever each individual’s favourite team sticks the puck in the net.


The app also delivers a “five minutes to game time” alert to users.


Technically, since Budweiser is not an official NHL partner, fans actually choose the name of a city rather than an actual franchise name in order to comply with non-sponsor legal technicalities.


The beer brand, which not so long ago lost a legal battle with the league and rival Molson Coors over NHL hockey rights, is selling the lights for $149 through the campaign’s website.


‘We’re not in this to make money off Red Lights,’ said Budwesier marketing director Kyle Norrington. ‘We’re in the game of elevating the experience for hockey-loving fans across the country. We are not a sponsor of the NHL, but we are a super-fan of hockey and we support hockey at multiple levels.’


The idea is simple – these lights are an iconic part of the emotional goal scoring moment for hockey fans and the brand wanted to attach itself to these crucial moments and leverage the positive feelings they create.


Initially only available in Toronto area, the first round of devices sold out fast and the second round is now rolling out across the country. P that will ship in May, in time for the play-offs in June.


According to Norrington this is just the core launch strand of the initiative and that a broader initiative around goals will evolve in the future.




As 2013 drew closer most Canadians wondered if there was going to be any hockey at all this season. By February, even ambushers with no NHL rights were bringing the game live into their very homes.


A marketing campaign, a Budweiser product, a branded-utility – however the device is labelled, it is a fascinating example of the much trumpeted future trend ‘The Internet Of Things’.


This device is powered by Electric Imp – a start-up tech outfit that makes SD-card-like chips that boast both Wi-Fi and embedded processors. This all-in-one approach fits the very concept of connecting physical things to the internet.


This movement towards connecting objects (rather than people or computers/phones) to the internet cold end in a landscape where almost everything is connected to the web and can interact with one another.


This scenario is, of course, a long way off, but small steps towards it are appearing everywhere from the connected fridge and the driverless car, to Wi-Fi-enabled trainers and mobile controlled home heating.


For sponsors, it seems likely that this is going to be another crucial tool in leveraging their rights to connect people more closely to their passion platforms and enhance their experiences.




Budweiser Red Lights TVC YouTube



Budweiser Red Lights Website



Budweiser Red Lights Twitter



Budweiser Red Lights Facebook



Budweiser Canada Website





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