Jay-Z Strikes Deal With Budweiser to Stage Annual Concert
Budweiser is reviving its annual tradition via a partnership with hip-hop mogul Jay -Z, who has agreed to curate and headline a summer music festival in Philadelphia, "Made in America."
The move is a bid to breathe new life into Budweiser Superfest, which between 1979 and 1999 was known for featuring some of the biggest names in music, including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Budweiser tried to bring the festival back recently -- last year's show featured songstress Jill Scott -- but it didn't reach the series didn't seem to match its former glory.
Rebranding the event "Made in America" is a play on words: It underscores the Anheuser-Busch brand's American heritage, as well as a song featured on Jay -Z's 2011 album with Kanye West, Watch the Throne.
Company execs say this is part of an effort to target a younger, more multicultural demographic.
"Budweiser is expanding into a bigger and deeper connection [with consumers] through music," said Rob McCarthy, VP-Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch. The initiative is meant to "engage young adults who have a passion for music," and is focused on an artist lineup that is "very diverse, touching all [consumers] that make up America," he said.
Indeed, the brewer has put more emphasis on music across its brand portfolio under U.S. VP-Marketing Paul Chibe, who took that role about a year ago.
Kanye West's "Runaway" was the featured song in a Super Bowl spot for higher-alcohol Bud Light Platinum. Bud Light Lime's newest ads feature a remix of Will Smith's "Summertime" by Swizz Beatz that was produced for the campaign.
As part of the Bud deal, Jay -Z will curate a roster of 30 artists and headline the concert. Made in America will also be available for people nationwide via live-streaming. An unspecified portion of the proceeds will go to charity, Budweiser said.
The event is just one more way that Budweiser is trying to emulate Coca-Cola; the brewer has previously stated a strategy of becoming a truly global beer brand, or the "Coke of Beers."
Coca-Cola has put a renewed emphasis on connecting with consumers via music. At Ad Age 's Digital Conference in April, Coca-Cola announced its launch of a new partnership with Spotify. This year it also kicked off its largest teen-focused campaign, Coca-Cola Music.
Budweiser's lead agency is Anomaly , but this deal was struck by Translation, which was chosen last year to handle advertising for the Bud Light Platinum brand and other brand extensions.
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E.J. Schultz contributed to this story.