Amstel Promo, Case study BOSTON'S BREWIN' by MSLGroup

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Industry Beers and Ciders
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency MSLGroup
Released June 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Goods, including FMCG and Household Products
Advertiser: AMSTEL LIGHT
Product/Service: BEER
Vice President of Amstel Light: Colin Westcott-Pitt (Heineken USA)
Brand Manager of Amstel Light: Belen Pamukoff (Heineken USA)
Senior Vice President: Brian Williams (MSLGroup)
Senior Account Executive: Arielle Himy (MSLGroup)
Account Executive: Richard Mitchell (MSLGroup)
Assistant Account Executive: Eric Sveum (MSLGroup)
Chief Client Officer: Renee Wilson (MSLGroup)
Senior Vice President: Caryn Carmer (MSLGroup)
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - - 27 June 2011
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - CBS Boston - 28 June 2011
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - Yahoo! Sports - 28 June 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - CNN Headline News - 29 June 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - ESPN: Around The Horn - 29 June 2011
Media placement: Consumer PR - New England Cable News - 29 June 2011
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - - 29 June 2011
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - - 29 June 2011
Media placement: Social Media/Consumer PR - / Boston Globe Staff - 29 June 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Similar to the Boston Bruins who endured a 39-year championship drought, the Amstel Light brand had lost its relevance in the 15 years since it hit the U.S. market. With declining sales, Amstel Light was barely on the radar of its target audience: men, aged 25-34. It had become the 'safe' beer – no personality, nothing distinctive, no reason to be a part of conversations.

When the Bruins finally won the 2011 Stanley Cup, the city of Boston went wild but no one partied harder than the team. After a massive night of celebration, sports media across the country began covering the team’s $156,000 bar tab. Then, after a photo of the itemised receipt appeared on the web, social media conversation erupted, carrying the story into the mainstream national news spotlight.

Initially, the conversation was about a $100,000 bottle of champagne but the team noticed something better. On the 24-inch long receipt, amidst 156 Bud Lights, there was a single bottle of Amstel Light. The team recognised an opportunity to jump into a trending story and knew we needed to react fast and smart. We had to know which player ordered that Amstel and we bet that sports fans would want to know too.

In just hours and with little budget, Amstel Light stole the conversation, receiving more publicity in a 5-day span than in any 6-month period in 5 years.

Appropriateness: This entry was 100% reliant on earned social/media and influencer-driven discussion.

The Situation
The Amstel Light brand had lost its relevance in the 15 years since it hit the U.S. market. With declining sales, Amstel Light was barely on the radar of its target audience – men, age 25-34. It had become the 'safe' beer - no real personality, nothing distinctive, no real reason to be a part of timely guy conversations – and it began to communicate in a 'safe' way too. Amstel Light needed to show guys that it was still relevant, and, internally, the brand needed a winning effort to prove to decision makers that it could still break through.

The Goal
“When you are the underdog, sometimes you need to steal the spotlight.” That was the advice Amstel Light needed to hear in 2011. Our goal was to generate mass publicity, very quickly - especially online where the brand was especially light and had no presence - and use that surge to wake up the organisation to the Amstel brand again and show it still had fight in it.

Research was focused on:
• Habits and preferences of males 25-39 year-old;
• Relevance of specific social media and online sports influencers.

The Strategy
The bar tab inspired a simple strategy to:
• Steal the topic and make the Amstel Light brand central to the conversation;
• Shift the conversation frenzy from gross excess ($100K champagne) to good taste and responsible sensibility (1 Amstel Light);
• Give Amstel Light a personality by embracing that the player may not want to claim our beer;
• Give fans and bloggers a chance to stand on the side of Amstel Light and support the Brand in its search for the player that ordered the Amstel.

Once the opportunity was identified, Amstel issued a letter announcing a search to find the Bruin who made the smart decision to order an Amstel Light.

In the letter, Amstel congratulated the team, acknowledged their partying skills and challenged the players to claim the beer. The brand would reward the player who owns up to the beer with more beer for his celebration with the Stanley Cup.

The letter was posted to Amstel’s owned social properties and seeded to several top-tier sports influencers. CNBC’s Darren Rovell broke the letter to his Twitter audience of 200,000+. Yahoo! Sports was next, followed by top Boston sports bloggers and online columnists. Others followed as the letter was posted to hundreds of sites and shared on Twitter.

Finally, the national broadcast and print outlets, including ESPN, NBC Sports and NECN, were tipped off adding to the mainstream penetration and coverage.

Documented Results
• With a $16,000 budget, brand achieved;
• 275+ unique stories;
• 30 minutes broadcast coverage;
• 115m media impressions in 5 days;
• 1,110 + Tweets, 2.1m reach;
• Inspired a Yahoo! Sports guessing game contest, an 8-minute ESPN on-air roundtable discussion, a Boston radio call-in contest and a Photoshop contest on the Puck Daddy hockey blog.

• MTV reality show star falsely claimed the beer, sparking coverage and becoming 'Amstel Light Girl'

• Became a trending topic on Twitter on day 2 (without a handle);
• 1,000% Facebook engagement increase;
• Brand health report: 9% increase in brand awareness and 'favourability' amongst males 25-39.

Attitude Shift:
• Success led to significant incremental investment from management to execute nimble engagement tactics;
• Brand re-evaluated its partner roster and shifted to non-traditional thinking and new mediums for creative consumer engagement.