Budweiser Applauds Soldiers on Mobile Tour
In the midst of a tough political climate surrounding the war in Iraq, Anheuser-Busch trotted out a tour that would give consumers of all political affiliations an opportunity to come together and say thanks to the men and women in the armed forces.
Pulled together in just five weeks, the tour sent two teams of Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdales to 28 markets in three months. One team started at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the other from the Golden Gate Bridge in California, with both aimed toward A-B’s backyard in St. Louis. At each stop, consumers had a chance to record a video message for soldiers overseas.
“We learned how to use our resources and our brand to enable Americans to be able to do something that they probably wouldn’t have had the ability to do otherwise,” says Mark Greenspahn, director-contemporary event marketing for A-B. “We gave them a direct communication link to our troops. I don’t think there are very many opportunities to do that.”
The concept was born out of the favorable consumer reaction to A-B’s “Applause” commercial, which debuted during last year’s Super Bowl and featured troops returning home from service to cheers and applause in an airport.
In addition to creating messages for the troops at tour stops, consumers could walk through exhibits featuring photos, stories, and videos illustrating A-B’s support of the troops over the last century. Each team of Clydesdales was accompanied by a 53-foot tractor-trailer carrying the event buildout. Approximately 12,000 video messages were recorded on the tour.
“To be there, and to watch the tears roll down everybody’s faces—that’s what said ‘Wow, we hit a home run,’” says Terry Hobbs, vp-production services at St. Louis-based The Spark.
Appropriately, the tour wrapped July 4 at Fair St. Louis, one of the country’s biggest Independence Day celebrations. In front of an audience of approximately 200,000 fairgoers, the two hitches marched toward each other before meeting in the middle of St. Louis’ East Bridge and fireworks capped the final celebration.