Marketer's Brief: Bud Light's Cleveland Browns 'victory fridge' is a PR win

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Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to [email protected]

Another day, another mainstream marketer pouring money into the marijuana business. Find out who below. We also take a look at the nuclear-themed movie poster for Michael Moore's newest flick, which trolls you-know-who. But first, some potentially good news for long-suffering Cleveland Browns fans. (Or maybe not.)

PR play of the week

Bud Light Cleveland Browns Victory Fridges
Bud Light Cleveland Browns Victory Fridges Credit: Bud Light

Anheuser-Busch InBev recently has put a big emphasis on using its sports sponsorships to drive free media attention, not just paid advertising. The brewer scored a major win on that front this week with when it said it would install Cleveland Browns "victory fridges" at bars in the city. Stocked with Bud Light, they will remain locked until the longtime struggling team gets its first regular season victory. The gimmick has garnered a ton of coverage since it was announced Tuesday morning, with stories running everywhere from Fortune to the Sydney Morning Herald—and of course plenty of Ohio media outlets have picked it up. In just 24 hours, a Bud Light rep says the stunt has earned the brand more impressions than all but three of the brand's campaigns in the past year.

Bud Light Philly Philly Pack
Bud Light Philly Philly Pack Credit: Bud Light

If the Browns go through another winless season like last year (and really, that seems unlikely), we bet Bud Light opens the fridges anyway. After all, AB is known for strict cost controls, and there is nothing worse than stale beer. Bud Light came up with the idea internally along with its PR agency 3PM. Fusion made the fridges and Wieden & Kennedy and and Endeavor helped on the execution.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Bud Light is selling special "Philly Philly" packs, which is a play on its "Dilly Dilly" catchphrase.

Corona maker buys more weed

Corona marketer Constellation Brands is going deeper into the cannabis biz. The booze, beer and wine marketer today said it has poured an additional $4 billion investment in a Canadian marijuana company called Canopy Growth Corp. Constellation first took a 10 percent stake in the company late last year. It now controls 38 percent of the company, which trades as WEED on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Canopy says it won't enter the U.S. market unless pot becomes federally legal. (The future of cannabis is on the agenda at the upcoming Ad Age Next conference; more info on that below.)

Hole in one

The movie poster for Michael Moore's new movie is out—and not surprisingly, it's pretty provocative.

Fahrenheit 11/9
Fahrenheit 11/9 Credit: State Run Films

"Fahrenheit 11/9" premieres on Sept. 21. That's 10 days after Bob Woodward's highly anticipated book, "Fear: Trump in the White House" is set to hit shelves.

More '90s nostalgia

Everybody is all about the '90s lately—see New Balance's LA pop-up shop—and teen brand Hollister is no exception. (Maybe because its customers never had to live through the decade?) The Abercrombie-owned retailer is teaming up with musician Khalid on a new clothing collaboration, which will drop next month. It is "heavily influenced by 90s nostalgia, music and graphics," according to a release. The collection will include 13 mix-and-match styles of fleece hoodies, jersey tops and nylon pants. Khalid will run a social media campaign around "Make More Music."

Another retail start-up pops up in NYC

A new company is playing matchmaker to retail brands looking for brick-and-mortar space. Guesst (no, that's not a typo), a digital platform, aims to connect brands with already staffed and merchandised retail stores, a feature it is dubbing "Pop-Shares." While we're not sure the phrase is going to catch on, the concept, in which brands pay a licensing fee to display their products, could have legs for marketers looking to break into the risky world of retail real estate. New York designer Steven Alan will partner with Guesst on the launch.

Come on baby, let's get away

ClassPass is taking a page from Janet Jackson's playbook with its new offering—cause who doesn't want to get away in August? The five-year-old fitness membership company has unveiled ClassPass Getaways, where it says consumers can book experiences at "lux locations" with special fitness and shopping opportunities. "We're thrilled to give members the opportunity to take a mini-escape from their day-to-day to try new things and explore unfamiliar places," said Payal Kadakia, ClassPass founder, in a release. Sounds kinda familiar?

McDonald's French Toast?

The Golden Arches has said it needs to do more to boost its breakfast business. Now, the latest "why didn't they think of this sooner?" food concoction is being tested at more than 200 McDonald's restaurants in Minnesota: a McGriddles French Toast Breakfast Sandwich—a brioche French toast bun brushed with syrup, cracked egg, melted American cheese, sausage patty and thick cut Applewood smoked bacon. Along with the chain's hunger for a sales boost, the product test comes as customers have said "they are looking for a bigger and more filling breakfast option," McDonald's said. We haven't tried it yet, but the Star-Tribune reports it is "Not bad. Not bad at all. It certainly nails the 'filling' goal."

Would you by this?

Milkshake IPAs are officially a thing, with several craft brewers experimenting with the style, which is brewed with, you guessed it, lactose. The latest comes from Odell Brewing, which boasts that its Cloud Catcher milkshake IPA does not use any additives or fruit purees, "and instead relied on the complexity of the hop flavors to create the beer's unique profile."

Number of the Week

$6 Billion: How much McDonald's and its franchisees plan to spend to modernize most U.S. restaurants by 2020.

Tweet of Week

Comings and Goings

Michelle Bottomley is trading office supplies for insurance. The former chief marketing officer at Staples recently joined New York Life Insurance Co. as CMO.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jessica Wohl

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Next, Ad Age's biggest event of the year, has added new speakers including Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas; Pras Michél, the Fugees co-founder now creating Blacture; Claudia Mata, co-founder of the Vertly brand of CBD-infused beauty products; Meiling Tan, head of marketing at Waymo; Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, the network of women investors; Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer at GE Ventures; and Jen Wong, the chief operating officer at Reddit. They join a Next lineup already stacked with CEOs, investors, founders, innovators and marketing leaders, coming together Nov. 13 and 14 in New York to describe the near future in everything from AI to food. Aug. 15 is the last day for early-bird tickets; regular pricing begins Aug. 16.

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