In a blog I wrote last spring, I mistakenly called the Nationals upcoming season “ominous” based on the fact that Bryce Harper wasn’t coming back to Washington. Well, as I’m sure you already know, I was wrong. It ended up being their best season yet and concluded with a World Series Championship, meaning the team came back to DC victorious, with the Commissioner’s Trophy in tow.
So, how did they pull it off? It was thanks to a collection of heroes. Take your pick—there’s Strasburg, Rendon, Soto, Kendrick—the list goes on.
But no one cashed in on their World Series hero quite like Bud Light.
Let’s rewind to Game 5. It’s the second inning and Houston’s Yordan Alvarez hits a bomb to left center field. Going, going, gone – and headed straight for Nationals fan Jeff Adams whose hands are both preoccupied, each firmly grasping a Bud Light. So, Adams did what any true baseball fan would do (especially after spending upwards of $12 per beer). He held tight onto both cans and took the home run ball straight to the abdomen. The ball fell to the ground and after a gaggle of fans dove for it, Adams came up successful.
Almost immediately after, Bud Light took to Twitter to ask their followers for help in finding the (then-unknown) “Bud Light Guy” in hopes of rewarding him.
And just an hour later (while still on the hunt for Adams), Bud Light revealed a t-shirt depicting the home run moment along with the text “Always Save the Beers”.
About 12 hours later, Bud Light found their hero, and surprised him with tickets and a flight to Houston for Game 6. It was during Game 6, at around 8:30pm that Bud Light premiered their new ad – footage of the game 5 home run along with the messaging, “Not all heroes wear capes… or gloves.” After the ad premiered, cameras panned to Adams, obviously wearing none other than the shirt Bud Light had created featuring his likeness.
After the Nationals won the World Series in Game 7, Bud Light released a new version of the ad – the same footage, but with the text, “We’re not saying you turned the series, but we’re not saying you didn’t. Congratulations, Jeff and all Nationals fans.”
The craziest part of this story? Not that a seemingly Average Joe turned into a nationwide sensation overnight, but the fact that Bud Light was able to cash in on this marketing opportunity so swiftly and seamlessly. It is estimated that Bud Light received more than $8 million in ad value from Jeff Adams himself and the marketing tactics that followed.
While, yes, based on the fact that it was a World Series final game, a home run ball, and that Jeff was holding not one but two beers, Bud Light got really lucky. But this doesn’t mean your brand can’t capitalize on situations just like this.
How? Start by employing a social listening tool. Social listening allows you to keep track of the conversations people are having surrounding your brand on social media platforms. By keeping up with the conversations, you’ll be able to see spikes in your brand’s mentions and be on alert if a marketable moment arises.
Second, let the moment do the work for you. With just the raw footage of Jeff Adams, and some simple text, Bud Light instantly had a t-shirt and two viral ads. By spending less time and money on an elaborate production, they were able to keep the messaging timely and relevant, which is especially important in situations like the World Series.
Finally, be on top of your game. Had Bud Light not acted upon this opportunity the very night that it happened, chances are we wouldn’t know Jeff Adams by name, and Bud Light would’ve missed a major opportunity. Is your brand looking to maximize your marketing efforts—both viral and planned? With experience in social listening, advertising, and marketing let The Moak Group help you out.