Budweiser revives a Brazilian basketball legend to share its core values

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“Being true to your choices is what makes you an icon”. Oscar Schmidt is a retired Brazilian basketball legend who mostly played in his country and in Europe between the 80s-90s. The all-time leading scorer in the history of basketball was naturally drafted to play in the NBA in 1984 but due to an old ruling which prohibited playing for the NBA and any other team, he rejected the offer so he would be allowed to play for his national team. He chose the “hard way” to become a famous player so in 2016, Budweiser who sponsors the NBA in Brazil partnered with ESPN to give Oscar a remarkable tribute and the challenge he always deserved at a time where Brazil got suspended from international competitions by the FIBA.

Case study summary

• Budweiser launched a campaign to capture young beer drinkers through the reviving of Oscar’s story and career, many had heard of but never seen played.
• To increase its image and consideration scores among its target, Budweiser partnered with sports channel ESPN and organised an integrated digital campaign on Oscar’s training and first ever NBA game.
• Together they released a mysterious trailer and a series of video clips ending with a 17-minutes documentary on his preparation.
• The trailer generated 600K interactions while the campaign gathered more than 217 million impressions with a 96% score on positive mentions
• 64 million people were impacted by earned media and Budweiser saw its search results increased by 226% during the campaign

The challenge

Oscar rejected the offer to play in the NBA league so he could be allowed to play for his national team. He was an amazing player with record stats who would never show off his skills in the NBA.

So Budweiser and ESPN partnered in 2016 to make the dream a reality and allow the fans and followers to witness Oscar in a NBA game.

Key digital tools used

The campaign promoted content on social media channels with large outreach such as facebook, twitter and youtube to share its core values, concept and attachment to sports with new generations in the US and Brazil while offering unique sports lifetime moments.

Budweiser started pitching silently about this campaign by releasing a 30 seconds trailer on Oscar Schmidt’s mysterious return to training on youtube which generated 600k interactions and a lot of curiosity among the media.

"Getting back to practice to sharpen my aim and honour the great challenge that is coming. Really happy with this!"

They made his NBA debut official on a Facebook live

The campaign generated 217 million impressions using social media channels and earned medias.

On twitter, the hashtag #OscarnaNBA became the world’s top trending topic during the game.


The solution

Budweiser used Oscar’s story as a parallel to their own story to tell their consumer targets that both stories converge on the fact that each has been practicing its sport or producing its beers in its “own way and following its own rules”.

To reach out to their consumer targets, they found a powerful story to rewrite and tell with an unprecedented move in basketball history. Budweiser’s target are people in the social class A, B older than 18

“To connect more and more with their consumers, brands need to tell great stories. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest sports in Brazil. Oscar is our idol, our reference in basketball, "explains Sergio Gordilho, co-president and CCO of Africa Sao Paulo advertising agency for brand who produced the commercial ads.

The results

• Oscar’s game had the biggest audience of this kind of event in Brazil
• The campaign generated more than 217 million impressions
• 64 million people were impacted by earned media
• Budweiser search increased 226% during the campaign
• 96% of the campaign mentions were positive
• #OscarnaNBA became world top trending topic on Twitter
• The tribute encouraged further additional tributes to Oscar and other personalities through derived limited-edition products.
• By sharing Oscar’s story, Budweiser shared its own story

Beyond the metrics, Budweiser succeeded in creating a never-seen-before kind of event which landed the foundations of new forms of tributes. They wanted “epic” and did epic and memorable.

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