After a two-decade hiatus, Busch has returned as the official beer of NASCAR—but don’t call it a comeback. Busch’s celebration of and commitment to its roots in racing have never wavered, according to the brand, and with a new multi-year NASCAR partnership underway, the company is eager to continue building brand loyalty among the racing community. To that end, Busch on Feb. 18 made a home for itself at the Super Bowl of racing—the Daytona 500—where its consumer activation served as the first stop along this year’s Busch Racing Midway Tour.
Rewarding customers is a key element of Busch’s marketing strategy, so to offer loyal fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the brand developed the “500 to the 500” sweepstakes, which ultimately provided 250 beer drinkers (and their plus-ones) with an all-inclusive trip to the Daytona 500. To win, consumers had to locate a special checkered can hidden across the country inside 18-, 24- and 30-packs of limited-edition Busch, then post a celebratory photo or video to social media for a chance to be entered into the drawing. “It’s a fun way to engage with consumers through the actual product asset,” says Chelsea Phillips, vp-value and beyond beer brands at Anheuser-Busch.
Once on-site at the 60th “Running of the Great American Race,” contest winners and race attendees were invited to engage with Busch through a variety of engagements geared toward the brand’s target demographic—the outdoor enthusiast who isn’t afraid to put in a hard day’s work. There was a shooting gallery where attendees shot at targets with cork guns to win prizes, an emcee offering trivia questions and interacting with attendees, a collection of vintage Busch racing posters on display and a social media call to action in which attendees that posted a photo from the Busch footprint using #Buschhhhh (a nod to the brand’s 2017 Super Bowl ad) could win branded swag like tees and hats.
The crux of the activation, however, took place inside two mobile units. The first, a 32-foot-long gooseneck trailer, opened up to showcase Busch’s history in NASCAR racing, as well as its current sponsorship of driver Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 car, which is displayed at the center of Busch’s footprint before each tour race. Attendees could explore a large glass display case featuring memorabilia like old vehicle paint schemes and trophies, along with newer items like Harvick’s fire suit. The second trailer unfolded into a full-scale bar where 12-ounce brews were served for $4 each (no, seriously) to tie back to the No. 4 vehicle. Each beer sold came with a complimentary koozie. As the tour continues, Busch will also offer six-packs of its beer and a free cooler that can be carried into the stadium in states that permit it.
Another key element of the tour is the brand’s rewards platform, Busch Bucks. Through the program, consumers can purchase Busch products, upload their receipts to the platform and collect points for the dollar amount they purchased. The points can be used to snag die-cast cars, branded apparel, memorabilia from Harvick’s racing history and beyond. To encourage attendees to join the program on-site at Daytona, and to collect data for future communications, Busch offered a custom racing poster (the posters will be specific to each track along the tour) to each person that signed up.
“As the sponsorship space changes, we’re always looking for ways to make the consumer experience feel like it’s once-in-a-lifetime and really pay off that loyalty by providing the consumer with what it is they’re looking for,” says Phillips. “As we try to get bigger and better and more meaningful with consumers, the 500 program was a way that we could pay homage to the Daytona 500—it’s the biggest race of the year—and really help people who have always wanted to get there for the first time, or even the 10th time if it means that much to them. I think that that’s truly what we try to bring to the table when we activate.” Agency: Switch, St. Louis.