In Budweiser’s latest spot for China, a bottle of beer and an electronic dance tune set off a viral dance craze that spreads worldwide. The idea is that beer can help you let go and unleash your true self, a theme the brand has explored before in China.
The spot stars Hong Kong superstar singer-actor Eason Chan, with one of his famous tunes remixed as an EDM dance track by Dutch DJ Don Diablo, who also appears in the ad by Observatory. The two musicians are stuck working late in a recording studio, and Chan looks exhausted. But then a bottle of Bud spills over the recording equipment, the electricity crackles and there’s a strange new vibe in the air. Both men are pulled into the air, like puppets getting yanked by a string, and start dancing. They seem stiff and surprised at first, but then Chan cracks a smile and starts having fun. The dance is contagious, and everybody who sees it joins in.
“If you go to a dance club in China, everyone’s sitting down and drinking beer, not necessarily moving and dancing,” says Joseph Lee, VP-Marketing for Budweiser in APAC North. “We want to encourage people to try things, release yourself. In the first moment you might feel a little embarrassed, but then you start to like it.”
The choreography is by Ian Eastwood, who has a big Instagram following. The spot is called “The EDM Effect.” Budweiser frequently uses EDM in China; it just signed a partnership to be the official brand and presenting sponsor of an EDM festival called Creamfields in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Last year Chan starred in another ad from Budweiser and CAA Marketing, as Observatory was known before a rebrand. That spot also had an EDM track and was set in a dystopian future where beer provided an escape from gray monotony.