CHICAGO: Bud Light, the beer brand owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, has generated a powerful return on investment from introducing special cans for teams competing in the National Football League (NFL).

Nick Kelly, AB InBev’s head/US sports marketing, discussed this subject during a session at the 2018 IEG Sponsorship conference.

And he reported that the partnership between Bud Light and the NFL has resulted in the launch of bespoke cans for almost every franchise – and a demonstrably impactful means of enhancing brand engagement and loyalty.

“Team cans bring the highest [ROI] because they really drive true opportunities for lift,” Kelly said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Bud Light reveals its most powerful ROI driver.)

Drilling down into this topic, he explained that this program fuels incremental growth and is a “huge volume driver” for the brand, as proved out using hard numbers.

“The way we looked at team cans was to take a five-year average of total Bud Light beer sales from August through October, then, basically, look at a market – or a store – with team cans and a market without team cans.”

Exact performance, Kelly allowed, varies from market to market: “If you’re winning games, you’re selling more beer,” he said. But even if a team has an off-year, he continued, that doesn’t mean that the fans take the season off.

The NFL largely sells out every seat at all of its stadiums. That success, in fact, is a strong marker for brand loyalty. And a beer’s association with that fervent cohort simply translates into more sales.

“If you have a high attendance level, the value of you to [a team partner] is always going to be higher, Kelly said.” But, if the hometown squad is winning, its value increases.

More wins, in effect, mean more receptivity to in-store displays. And when fans see the promotions, they want to be a part of it. “The passion for them to buy those cans is going to be higher,” Kelly related.

The success of beer cans is rooted in a fundamental question: How did one of the world’s biggest marketers land on beer cans as a sales driver?

Kelly’s answer: “Our resources aren’t growing, so we have to reinvest resources from traditional places into new passion points ... So we create our own new path, our own new ways.”

Sourced from WARC