Remember that Bud Light Superbowl commercial of that random schmuck getting pulled into an unbelievably awesome night on the town? The one where he runs Don Cheadle with a llama in the elevator, played ping pong with Arnold Schwarzenegger, went onstage to an apparently live OneRepublic concert that was happening?
Yeah. Just when we thought that that was elaborate, it turned out that Bud Light had much grander plans for the slogan they introduced at that commercial, “Up For Whatever”. Over the course of the next half year, all we saw was commercials of this other schmuck apparently setting up a town in the middle of somewhere in the USA, fitting tuxedos on porcupines, flying 18 wheelers in on military helicopters, and ordering cakes with ladies and dudes and cakes inside, for people that likes cake…
Bud Light’s Whatever USA campaign is probably the most grandiose marketing event production the world has seen in recent years. It does tie in brilliantly with the public image of Bud Light, with the key term “Whatever” being one that aptly describes both what its drinkers are up for, and what the beer itself tastes like.
The party at Whatever USA did actually happen on the weekend of September 5th thru 7th. The location of this Whatever USA town is actually a town in Colorado called Crested Butte. Yes, that second word is pronounced exactly how you think it is. I can’t even make it up.
The Whatever USA weekend event brought in around 1,000 people attending the party. Put that into the context that Crested Butte has a total population of 1,500 residents, and you can imagine that the town saw this like how Bethel saw Woodstock back in the 60s. Bud Light worked with all the local citizens of course. Streets and public fixtures were temporarily painted in Bud Light Blue for the weekend, concert stages were set up naturally, and they even made a fake beach on top of this ski resort of a town sitting at 9,000 feet altitude.
At the end of the day, the event itself was only a 1,000 person event, but from the perspective of the marketing it was the commercials and the hyped up storyline of building this town that really became the Bud Light campaign.
Events hold a special place in the world of marketing. Along with advertising and public relations, events is a medium of opportunity for a brand to connect with its fanbase and make impressions on the general public. In the case of Bud Light’s Whatever event, it was the integrated campaign of both the advertising and the event that defined the company’s marketing campaign for over a year. It wasn’t the event itself. It was how the story was told about the event, putting the “whatever” theme of the event into the context of the company’s overall image. The event itself only touched 1,000 people. But all across the USA, we saw the commercials and raised our eyebrows at the commotion. In the meantime, we’re talking about Bud Light.
It’s like falling in love. Sometimes it’s not the person, it’s the idea of that person we love.
See you at the next exploration!