MLB Sponsor Budweiser Launch Spike Lee’s ‘Impact’ Jackie Robinson Homage Spot Ahead of Opening Day

MLB beer partner Budweiser approached Opening Day with an inspirational commercial that leverages MLB Opening Day by celebrating the league’s first black player who was born 100 years ago.


The 3-minute commercial, called ‘Impact’, was directed by legendary movie maker Spike Lee and is narrated by Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson.


The creative highlights how Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947 by mixing vintage footage with scenes that reenact black people gathering at bars and listening to Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers games on the radio.


They are, of course, all drinking Budweiser.


The spot also includes several of today’s most prominent and committed equal rights activists such as Amanda Nguyen (author of ‘The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights’ and LGBTQ advocate Dustin Ross.


The commercial debuted online on 26 March and runs as a 60-second TV spot and will air during MLB’s Opening Day on Thursday 28 March and on-screen in ballparks across the USA.



The voiceover includes the Robinson quote: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”


#ThisBudsForJackie #42


The creative, with the campaign’s #ThisBudsForJackie #42 hashtags is amplified across the brand’s US digital and social channels



and is supporting by a set of baseball opening day content spanning print, OOH and digital advertising.


View this post on Instagram

Dear @mlb season: see you soon. Love, Budweiser.

A post shared by Budweiser USA (@budweiserusa) on





Plus Budweiser created limited-edition ‘Jackie Robinson 42’ aluminum bottles for the new MLB season and the brand will donate 42 cents from every bottle sold to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.


The initiative was developed by Dentsu Aegis Network with Isobar leading the creative and Vizeum> handling media strategy and implementation.


The film’s title, ‘Impact’, is inspired by Robinson’s quote that “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” and director Lee said in a press release that the campaign pays homage to “a great American who literally changed the game with the impact he made.”




This activation approach sees the league’s official beer seek some cultural cachet as it builds anticipation and excitement around the new baseball season.


Oddly, this wasn’t actually the first time that Lee had helmed a Jackie Robinson spot for Anheuser-Busch. Back in 2006 he narrated and appeared in an ad called ‘Here’s To Beer’ in which he toasts the baseball and socio-cultural icon.


Official MLB cap partner New Era has also launched a limited edition Jackie Robinson cap tribute for the season/



Budweiser has been an official MLB sponsor since way back 1980 and its current official tie-up is estimated by IEG to be worth around $20m per year in rights fees and another $20m per year in promotional commitments.


Budweiser also sponsors 23 of MLB’s 30 teams.


According to Budweiser, the brand’s core focus on leveraging its baseball rights is to enhance the baseball experience for fans – in-game and at-home – via exclusive content and unique opportunities at point-of-sale, on-premise and via advertising and across it social media channels.


Significantly, in terms of tactics and creative, late 2018 saw Budweiser owner ABInBev sign a deal with the MLB (and the NBA) players unions that sees uniformed current players appear in its Tv ads: ,marking the first time this has happened for an alcohol brand in 60 years.


The fresh agreement saw the American brewer finally overcome decades of resistance to the use of current athletes (names and imagery) in ATL alcohol commercials that also feature game footage and players speaking directly to camera.


Although they will not be shown holding or drinking beer!


The change comes after deals previously handled by the league/rights-owner were handed over to the [players union.


Running simultaneously to the Budweiser campaign, the MLB itself is also running an integrated campaign promoting Opening Day across multiple platforms that was led by a ‘Let The Kids Play’ commercial,



and which also included a work excuse letter on its social channels.













Dentsu Aegis Network









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