25th - 26th SEPTEMBER 2019  |  OLYMPIA

Behind Budweiser’s ‘One Team’ coronavirus response: Ad Age Remotely

Ad Age 27 Mar 2020 07:39

Welcome to Ad Age Remotely, a video digest of today's news. Brands continue to pull their regular marketing in favor of coronavirus response ads, with the efforts getting a mixed reception.

Today we speak with Monica Rustgi, VP of marketing for Budweiser, whose “One Team” spot is getting favorable reviews after debuting on Wednesday. The ad promotes Anheuser-Busch InBev’s move to redirect $5 million of its sports and entertainment marketing spend to the American Red Cross to support the fight against the pandemic. The brewer is also working with its sports partners to make arenas and stadiums available for blood drives. Rustgi says 50 stadiums will be up and running within the next six to eight weeks, with about 10 coming online in the next week. 

The ad juxtaposes sports references with scenes of people battling the epidemic. So, the line “This Bud is for the blues,” references blue-scrubs-wearing healthcare workers, not the St. Louis Blues hockey team. And the “reds” is an homage to Red Cross volunteers, not Cincinnati's pro baseball team.

Rustgi, who joined us from her Manhattan apartment, explains how the brand and agency David pulled the spot together in less than a week. “This started last Friday, this was a less than seven-day production,” she says. 

The ad uses images from a professional photo service, but Rustgi said all the shots were authentic and taken from activities occurring in the midst of the pandemic. “If we had more time we would have maybe even solicited user-generated content and had people nominate people—but given the need to send this message out quickly because of the needs of the Red Cross, we moved quickly.”

Agency staffers were spread across the globe, including Buenos Aires and Spain. “We had people working around the clock on different time zones,” Rustgi says. “This truly was unique. When you are editing a spot, typically the creative team is able to be looking over the shoulder of the editors and give real-time feedback. It wasn't this way. They had editors literally working from the bedrooms of their homes.”

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