Rihanna is joining Anheuser-Busch InBev's stable of music stars, which already includes Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake.
The pop star will take center stage in a campaign for Budweiser that will also include Jay-Z and reach more than 85 countries starting next week. The effort, called "Made for Music," includes TV commercials featuring the two stars, limited-edition packaging, digital executions, out-of-home advertising and sponsorships of Rihanna's and Jay-Z's concerts.
The campaign marks Bud's first coordinated international push involving music and comes as the brewer seeks to build a global beer brand on par with what Coke has done in the soda category. Music "allows us to bring Budweiser back as an icon of pop culture," said Ricardo Marques, Bud's global advertising director. Music has "been a tremendous force in shaping pop culture around the world," he added, noting that it is a "universal language" that "transcends cultures, language and connects people from different backgrounds."
In the U.S., Bud has long history of music marketing. But the brand has put even more focus on the tactic in recent years as it seeks to win over younger multicultural drinkers. Jay-Z has played a big role in that effort, including curating a music festival called "Made in America," for Budweiser that will be back for a second year in Philadelphia this year on Labor Day weekend. The brewer last year tapped Mr. Timberlake as the "creative and musical curator" for its Bud Light Platinum line extension in the U.S.
The ad agency for the new global campaign is Translation, which continues to take the lead on musical marketing for the brewer despite recently losing its status as agency of record for Bud Light. An A-B InBev spokeswoman said that Anomaly will continue to serve as the lead global AOR for Bud.
While the global effort was inspired by Made in America, it will have a separate identity. Rather than host music festivals across the globe, Bud will weave its brand into Jay-Z 's and Rihanna's concerts through VIP experiences and other promotions. The brand will also partner with Facebook to create custom content, while putting on its YouTube channel behind-the-scenes footage of the TV campaign, which is called "Dreams Are Made."
The ads [below], which are directed by Mark Romanek, seek to "capture the creative spirit of a global generation, showcasing the many ways people create," according to a statement from the brewer. The spots will initially air in core markets including the U.S., China and Brazil. The Rihanna ad features her newest single "Right Now," while the Jay-Z spot features his "PSA" single. (Budweiser's deal with Rihanna began with a sponsorship of her ongoing "Diamonds" world tour.)
Bud's deal covers a total of 160 events in 25 countries, including the Made in America event and Jay-Z and Rihanna concerts. Jay-Z is scheduled to begin a tour later this month with Mr. Timberlake called "Legends of the Summer." Examples of the special packaging includes a Rihanna "travel case," which is a 24-pack of Budweiser beers that come in black cans emblazoned with a "Diamonds World Tour" logo.
The campaign comes in the wake of Jay-Z's much-hyped "Magna Carta Holy Grail" solo album which was initially exclusively released to users of Samsung smartphone users. Asked if Budweiser was concerned about over-saturation of Jay-Z endorsements, Mr. Marques said: "What we tried to do with our campaign is to bring our point of view as a brand and our point of view as Budweiser ... and we think that makes it very distinctive."
He said Bud looks for artists that embody the "can-do spirit" and who have followed their dreams. "That is what we saw in the stories of Jay-Z and Rihanna," he said.