Budweiser pitches pop-up stadium experiences for MLB’s Opening Day

Dive Brief:

  • Budweiser plans to offer a pop-up stadium experience for baseball fans in New York and Chicago who can’t attend Major League Baseball’s Opening Day games on April 1. The beer brand will arrange for ballpark vendors to give away freshly made hot dogs in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood and throughout parts of New York City, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Budweiser set up an Opening Day microsite that gives Chicago Cubs fans a chance to wins tickets to an upcoming game at Wrigley Field. In New York, Budweiser will have a branded stadium experience pop-up at the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets, and station hotdog vendors around several neighborhoods. The vendors will give away tokens to redeem for a free beer at nearby bars to fans over the age of 21.
  • As part of its Opening Day festivities, Budweiser is also running a social media contest to give a small group of baseball fans a chance to throw out the first pitch for their favorite team. The brand is asking Twitter users to tweet the #BudPitchYourPitch and #Sweepstakes hashtags and tag its @BudweiserUSA handle to enter the contest on April 1-30, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

Budweiser aims to evoke more pleasant memories of attending baseball games in person with its pop-up stadium experiences in New York and Chicago. The pandemic led Major League Baseball to delay last year’s season and reopen without fans in attendance, though it did allow a limited number of people to see the World Series and National League Championship Series in person. New York has limited games to 20% stadium capacity, while the Chicago Cubs are only selling 9,000 tickets to the 41,000-seat Wrigley Stadium, according to press reports. The pop-ups also indicate that brands are once again interested in experiential marketing after many brands suspended those efforts during pandemic lockdowns.

By running a sweepstakes to win a chance to throw out a first pitch at an MLB game, Budweiser can reach younger fans who have relied on Twitter to stay on top of the news and current trends. As Twitter users share their contest entries in tweets, Budweiser can extend the reach of the campaign among people who may not see its @BudweiserUSA account, which has about 215,000 followers. The brand creates a continual stream of content on Twitter for product announcements, humorous commentary about current events and contests to engage consumers.

The promotion for baseball’s Opening Day follows other recent efforts to stand out amid the advertising clutter. Instead of dying its beers green for St. Patrick’s Day as in past years, Budweiser turned the idea of being green into a promotion for sustainable energy. The brand pledged to offer enough renewable energy certificates to cover the amount of estimated electricity that the U.S. beer industry uses in one day.

These campaigns come as AB InBev rewrites its marketing playbook, starting with the decision to not run ads for Budweiser during the Super Bowl for the first time in 37 years. Instead, the brand has been redirecting its media dollars to support COVID-19 vaccine awareness. These efforts can help to generate good will toward the brand until the pandemic subsides, and allows for more traditional promotions in public venues including bars, restaurants and stadiums. In addition, Anheuser-Busch sponsored a six-episode talk show that viewers can watch for free on mobile streaming video platform Ficto, an opportunity to be culturally relevant without the “interruption” of ads, per the brand.

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