Bud Light’s Whatever, USA Offers Millennial Appeal
In a campaign that will one day end up in textbooks, Bud Light took the Super Bowl launch of its #UpForWhatever ad campaign and brought it to life—literally—to forge a deeper connection with Millennials, that elusive 21- to 27-year-old demo that sees themselves as social curators, storytellers and more. The program was designed to spark conversations and became a viral part of the Millennials’ social graph.
Whatever, USA turned Bud Light’s #UpForWhatever campaign into a secret summer destination custom-made for Millennials and their social sharing. In early summer, a massive media, p.r. and digital/social effort launched to entice them to “audition” for the chance to visit Whatever, USA. More than 22,000 audition events took place at on-premise accounts, online, across mobile and through media partners.
Branded content and urgent creative messaging kept the intrigue levels high all summer long as on-premise events ramped up in frequency and intensity until Crested Butte, CO, was unveiled as the first-ever Whatever, USA, a town physically transformed into the largest brand experience in the world—82 different events over a weekend, all for 1,300 winners culled from more than 200,000 consumers that applied to get in. A Last Call for Whatever took place on Sept. 2 from 8-11 p.m., with winners announced at 10 p.m. local time, giving them less than 10 hours to pack and board their plane.
The city of Crested Butte was entirely remade, with eight blocks of Main Street painted blue and every lamppost, sign and storefront transformed. The goal? Let 1,000 people create one million different stories. And they did. Bars tapped Bud Light products. Parades, bands, drag queen drag races, beach parties, bacon-fests, live concerts and a gigantic ‘70s disco party added to the excitement along with so many simultaneous, participatory and entertaining engagements that no two people had the same experience.
RFID bracelets enabled check-ins, tagging, location-specific messaging and photo ops, which were syndicated to Facebook feeds as well as viewed in near real-time in a personalized photo gallery living in the native Whatever, USA Android and iOS app. The app allowed attendees to customize their weekend, streamline social engagement by synchronizing their social feeds, connect with other attendees, post clips, pictures and comments. The app also helped attendees discover events and shareable surprises, like Vanilla Ice’s Ice Cream Truck. To handle it all, broadband suppliers boosted local Wi-Fi capacity to 25 times the normal signal of Crested Butte.
More than 1.8 million (age-validated) Millennials engaged in the promotion, exceeding projections by more than 300 percent. Four-week usage among Millennials jumped 39 percent.