Big Game’s Big Easy Bud Light Super Bowl Hotel Experience

Few sponsors are more ambitious in their activation at the Super Bowl than Bud Light and much of this year’s Big Game campaign revolves around its takeover of the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in New Orleans as the Bud Light Hotel.


As well as the naming rebrand, all 200 rooms were stocked with Bud light beer, as well as branded towels, pillows and shampoo, while the decor was given a major Bud Light makeover with new blue carpet and lighting and sponsor-led dramatic exterior construction and lobby design projects such as Big game 3D projection.



Even the fountain sprouts bottles of Bud Light.


Furthermore, the front cab stand and driveway were converted into a VIP lounge, while a bridge across Convention Center Boulevard provides a route to the brand-owned tent venue which holds 3,500 for a set of three Super Bowl Week private concerts.


Events at the venue saw Bud Light partner with EA Sports (for a Madden Bowl video game competition) and with Rolling Stone (for a live party and concert), while stars of the shows included Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Gary Clarke Junior and Stevie Wonder.




Tickets and passes to these events were given away through the year via various Bud Light NFL competitions and promotions, while the shows on Friday and Saturday night will also be streamed live at the Myspace.com/BudLight.


The initiative is further supported digitally this year with the introduction of a Bud Light Hotel Facebook Correspondent.


In Bud Light’s pre-game hashtag – #herewego – is also building traction on Twitter and it is also featured at the end of the brand’s teaser 15-second TV spot.


The core TV work itself will include four and a half minutes of airtime during the Super Bowl – which makes Anheuser-Busch one of the highest-spending advertisers in the game. This year, the brand is dividing up the media spend between a new product Budweiser Black Crown,



its trademark Clydesdale shire horses



as well as two 60-second spots will be devoted to Bud Light.



While this is the fourth year that a temporary Bud Light Hotel has been erected in the Super Bowl host city, with last year’s hotel set up in Indianapolis



and planning for next year’s hotel in new York City already at an advanced stage.


This year’s Big Game Bud Light work comes at the end of the NFL official beer brand’s second year as a league sponsor which has revolved around its ‘Year Of The Fan’ campaign.


After initially holding the rights between 1990 and 2001 and then replacing rival Coots Light in 2011, Bud Light has a six year $1.2bn NFL partnership running up until 2016 which also includes rights as exclusive beer advertiser for the Super Bowl itself.


The hotel and venue idea emanates from a strategy built around promoting a Bud Light Lifestyle (rather than just a drink).


‘The idea is to associate the beer with a lifestyle. Not just to let people know that Bud Light exists, but to use our NFL sponsorship and the Super Bowl itself as an opportunity to show people what Bud Light is about,’ said  Bud Light vice-president Mike Sundet.


So the brand aims to ensure that its guests – who range from retailers and supply chain partners, to contest winners and VIPs – to experience total immersion in that lifestyle at the Bud Light Hotel.


The brand is also running a ‘Safe Ride Home’ taxi voucher program in the host city – in partnership with United Cabs and AAA – to ensure that celebrants who may have enjoyed a few too many adult beverages get home safely. An approach taken by an increasing number of sports event sponsors such as Jacob’s Creek at January’s Australian Open (see previous case study)


And for those who can’t be at the Bud Light Hotel (or at the Super Bowl itself) in person, the brand is also running a Blippar gaming and content-led campaign. Simply by holding up a smartphone to the Bud Light logo fans can interact with the initiative’s content which includes a Super Bowl inspired game, a competition, a team helmet element and even a set of Super Bowl snack recipes.






The strategy behind the Bud Light Hotel shows that the beer brand’s approach is to use its NFL and Super Bowl sponsorship as a long-term marketing platform rather than a short-term sales platform.


As Sundet said, the company is not necessarily looking to sell enough beer on Super Bowl weekend to recoup the costs of the hotel and concerts, but to promote the brand’s lifestyle for the long term.


Indeed, the lifestyle strategy is further bolstered by the partnerships with EA Sports and Rolling Stone which both have an experience-driven lifestyle focus on the same demographic as Bud Light.


Indeed, other sponsors have adopted similar lifestyle-led venue experience approaches to sponsorship activation in recent years. For example P&G created a ‘Family Home’ at the London 2012 Olympic Games where it activated around its umbrella ‘Thank You Mum’ idea (see previous case study), while UEFA sponsor Coca-Cola also transformed a corporate box into a Coke-branded dormitory experience for fans at Euro 2012.


While such physical sponsor spaces have a limited reach in terms of the number of people they can accommodate, they do benefit from providing an augmented and direct experience for a select group of fans.



Hotel Website



Brand Website



Rolling Stone Live At The Bud Light Hotel




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