Budweiser Quenches Festivalgoers’ Thirst for Tech
As a first-time beer sponsor at South by Southwest (SXSW), Anheuser-Busch InBev wanted to give attendees a taste of its market leadership—as well as its Budweiser Signature Draught. The Budweiser Beer Garage at the SXSWi festival, inspired by the actual Budweiser Beer Garage in Palo Alto, CA, did just that.
A 4D immersive virtual reality experience, which took the attendees on a virtual spin through the Budweiser brewery tour in St. Louis, was the garage’s main attraction. Wearing VR goggles, attendees got to see where the Clydesdales live and learn how Budweiser brew masters conduct quality tastings. Scent, sound and wind added realistic effects as attendees experienced temperature changes in the brewery, felt the breeze while walking from outside to inside, touched the beech wood chips and smelled the hops that go into the production. The multisensory cues synched with VR goggle programming across six headsets for a true group tour feel. And at the end, attendees got a cold, creamy taste of Bud’s Signature Draft just as they would in the brewery.
Samsung Gear headsets were equipped with a Samsung Galaxy mobile device to broadcast the tour. All devices were synched via a MILK VR app and integrated into a timecode that triggered sensory elements through targeted blasts, blizzard lighting, Chauvet LED instruments and DMX controllers. Guests who signed up for the tour online received text messages to return to the garage five minutes before the brewery tour began.
More than 2,600 attendees visited the garage and 1,650 people went through the virtual tour, generating 15 million-plus social and traditional media impressions. The 4D VR tour was so successful, Anheuser-Busch has since taken it to Los Angeles, New York City and London as a recruiting and sales tool.