AB InBev erects billboards tracking nation’s vaccination progress
Anheuser-Busch InBev—which has pledged to give away free beer if 70% of U.S. adults are vaccinated by July 4—now says it will use outdoor advertising to broadcast the country’s progress, including on Times Square.
Billboards erected in cities including New York, Boston and Los Angeles will include real-time trackers showing the percentage of adults vaccinated both nationally and in the city where the billboard is located. The signs will also plug the brewer’s beer giveaway, which it announced last week to align with the Biden administration’s goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least the first dose by July 4.
As of last week 63% of adults had gotten their first dose, but at current rates the U.S. will reach only 67% by July 4, according to USA Today.
AB InBev’s promotion promises to give away one beer, seltzer or non-alcoholic beverage to people who upload a picture of themselves to a website run by the brewer that shows them “in their favorite place to grab a beer, whether with friends at their favorite local bar and restaurant or with family in their very own backyard.” The site, called MyCooler, doubles as the brewer’s loyalty program and allows it to collect personal data that it uses for marketing (with user consent).
AB InBev today also released the latest in a series of ads it has been running that seek to position its products at the center of social gatherings that are again resuming as more people get vaccinated. The new spot, directed by Alex Prager and created by Wieden + Kennedy New York, shows people reuniting with loved one or meeting new people—often with hugs—at venues including bars, sports stadiums and gyms.
Plenty of marketers have used ads to put their brands at the center of occasions showing the nation getting back to normal. Pepsi, for instance, celebrated what were often annoying encounters in pre-pandemic times, like getting stuck in a revolving door with someone. But AB InBev has been more aggressive than most marketers. Its “Let’s Grab A Beer” campaign began with a Super Bowl ad in February that foreshadowed post-pandemic social gatherings. Now that such gatherings are more of a reality, the brewer has amped up its giveaways, which serve a dual purpose: They allow it to collect more first-party data for marketing purposes and also encourage folks to get out and drink more beer.
This week, for instance, AB InBev-owned Michelob Ultra this week announced limited-edition packs that include some random bottles signed by sports stars Serena Williams, Anthony Davis, Alex Morgan, Jimmy Butler, Nneka Ogwumike and Brooks Koepka. Drinkers who upload pictures of the bottles to the MyCooler site get a chance to win prizes such as Super Bowl tickets.