A standout content example: Budweiser and the Cubs
Columnist Rachel Lindteigen says content marketers should take a page from Budweiser's recent World Series ad honoring legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray.
So often we talk about what not to do in content marketing. Today, I want to share what I think is a perfect example of finding a way to be a part of the story without trying to make it about yourself. If brands can learn from examples like this, we will see a shift in our field and, in turn, a change in how content marketing and brands are viewed by consumers.
I’m sure that by now, you’ve heard the Cubs won the World Series in a very dramatic Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians last week. The game was up and down, and the lead was big. And then it was tied, and the stress levels were crazy. We saw fans literally biting their nails watching the game. It was that intense.
Anyone who has followed the Cubs knows who Harry Caray was. He was their beloved announcer for years. Caray didn’t live long enough to see the Cubs go to the World Series. Their win last week was the first one in 108 years for the franchise. And even though it’s been almost 20 years since Caray passed away, Anheuser-Busch found a way to bring him back to help celebrate the Cubs’ victory.
In the two-minute video clip, Anheuser-Busch lets Caray call one last game, the most important one in the past 108 years for Cubs fans. They don’t try to make this video about Budweiser at all. This is 100 percent about a story their audience wanted.
The video starts with Caray saying, “Someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series. And maybe sooner than we think.” The video then immediately goes to present-day Chicago and celebrations the night of Game 7.
There is no worry about product placement. Anheuser-Busch is not trying to make this video about Budweiser; they’re focused on telling the story.
Even in the bar crowd shots, there is not a focus on the beer in hand. I’ve heard people comment that it wasn’t until the third or fourth time they watched the video that they even realized the people in the bar had Budweiser beers in hand. The focus is on the fans watching the game together.
Caray calls the game from Cleveland thanks to historical game footage. He’s able to call the last outs of the game and the Cubs winning it all.
As the fans celebrate, Budweiser continues to focus on the story, not on inserting the brand into it. And that’s what makes this such a standout example of content marketing, in my opinion.
We see a few Budweiser logos or beers in the video, but they’re a natural part of the story, not a contrived product placement attempt. Yes, there are fans with beers in hand, but for many people, football and beer go together. And Budweiser is the “official beer” of Major League Baseball, so it’s natural that they’d have some logos within the story.
The most noticeable mention is in the closing of the video. Yet it just fits because it’s not calling out their brand, even though the logo is front and center. They continue to make the story about the Cubs’ win and Caray.
Folks, Budweiser really did it. There’s a reason this video has amassed over three million views and close to 13,000 likes. They thought about their customers and gave them what they’d want. They gave Cubs fans a celebration with Harry Caray one last time. And that’s a beautiful piece of content that people want to see and share.
Personally, I first saw this video on Facebook on Thursday morning, shared from a friend who is a die-hard Cubs fan. As the day went on, I saw multiple friends share it; some were Cubs fans, and others were not. The sentiment from all was that this was worth watching.
Content marketers, take heed. We have a lot to learn from this standout example of telling a story without making it about the brand.