What do you do when your football team wins its first game in a whopping 635 days? If you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, you throw one hell of a party! And if you’re a company that excels at smart marketing, you take full advantage of the situation to endear yourself to a fan base known for being unfailingly loyal. That’s exactly how Bud Light scored a major marketing victory last night.
Leading up to this season, the Browns had not won a regular season game since Christmas Eve 2016 (and that was their only regular season win since December 13, 2015 - but we won’t even go there!). The streak (and its inevitable end) prompted the beer marketing behemoth to launch its Victory Fridge campaign. Back in August, Bud Light teamed with the Browns to place a handful of locked orange Victory Fridges around the city – several in the stadium and about 15 more at undisclosed locations that had fans searching. Each “When the Browns win, Cleveland Wins” fridge was stocked with about 200 16-ounce cans of cold Bud Light and a promise that it would open and give out free beer for that first sweet victory celebration. Bud Light uncapped the campaign with a high tech twist, sending a wireless signal to open the locks as soon as the team won.
While I love the free beer, what I love even more is the marketing acuity behind this campaign. Bud Light built anticipation that had Clevelanders searching these things out and got them talking about their brand. Then they seamlessly cross marketed with the team in a natural way that’s exactly the interconnectedness we preach to our clients. Finally, they built an insane level of engagement that even had the Cleveland police jumping on board with this tweet:
It was a Dilly Dilly of a marketing win.