Budweiser Turns 'Big Brother' for World Cup

Brewer's Bid for Global Attention Includes Branded Reality Show

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev has kept largely mum on its marketing plans for this summer's FIFA World Cup, but it tipped its hand a bit late Friday when agency DDB put out a casting call for an apparent Bud-themed reality show.

"Budweiser is looking for passionate fans of each of the 32 FIFA World Cup qualifying countries to participate in the ultimate football getaway!" read the notice that was posted online. "If you are selected to represent your country, you will be flown to Cape Town, South Africa, for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Luxurious accommodations, thrilling excursions, and the opportunity to have the kind of access few fans ever have.

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"The 32 fans will have the chance to share their passion for their home team with each other and the world, as an award-winning production company films the excitement of the games and the overall FIFA World Cup experience."

If that sounds a bit like a soccer-themed "Big Brother," well, it should: The No. 1 global brewer is said to be working with the producers of a major-network reality show on this presumably digital effort.

The FIFA World Cup is seen as a crucial marketing platform for A-B, which has talked about developing a Coca-Cola-like global scale for Budweiser. While Bud is ever-present in the U.S., Canada and much of Western Europe, it lacks similar scale and distribution in many of the African and South American countries that are typically held rapt by the World Cup.

A-B's marketing preparations for the cup are being handled at the top levels of the company. The Winter Olympics, by contrast, were handled within the brewer's North American unit.

A-B also launched a Twitter feed for the casting effort.

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