The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s run through the 2019 Women’s World Cup electrified American sports fans like few events in memory.The team’s jaw-dropping skill and swagger captivated abroad audience, crushing viewership and jersey sale records, inspiring a generation of women athletes and dominating sports-media conversations across gender lines.
As a brand that often markets through sports, Miller Lite coveted a way into the conversation but was blocked in part by rival Budweiser’s official sponsorship of the USWNT, and many other major soccer partnerships around the world.
Usually, that scale is a major asset. Usually.
Budweiser is an American icon, but it’s also a global brand that sells to non U.S. audiences. And, heading into the wildly anticipated semifinal between the USWNT and England, Bud’s UK market team decided to run a promotion it surely would have
preferred American consumers never saw: If England defeated America, Bud would give away 100,000 free beers there.
Back in the U.S., Miller Lite noticed UK press coverage of the Bud promotion just as the game was about to start. And realized it had found its way into the conversation at last.
In the most anticipated women’s soccer game ever played, Budweiser was betting on Britain, offering the U.K. 100,000 free beers if the British women beat the Americans.
So Miller Lite took to Twitter ... and took the U.S., matching Bud’s 100,000 free beer offer in a tweet that went live shortly after the game was underway.
"Okay, Bud, you're on," the brand said in a tweet that also shared a news story on Bud's pro-England bet. "We'll take the U.S. If we win, , we're giving away 100,000 free beers right here in the good, ol' USA. #TeamUSA"
After the U.S. won in dramatic fashion, the story wasn't just about the U.S. winning a soccer game, it was about the U.S. winning FREE BEER.
"Miller Lite is giving away 100,000 free beers because, F**K Yeah, The USWNT beat England" boomed a BroBible headline. Similar stories popped up in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, AdAge and NBC Sports as the news exploded on both mainstream and social media. And the conversation rekindled on July 4 weekend, when Miller Lite offered America its' 100,000 free beers via a text-in rebate program it promoted on Twitter.
As Yahoo! Sports put it: “The win for the USWNT was also a win for American beer drinkers after Miller Lite jumped at the
chance to seize on a blatant gaffe from its chief rival, Budweiser.”And while U.S. drinkers got to hoist 100,000 free beers to celebrate a World Cup victory, Miller Lite had much to celebrate, too:
• With no out-of-pocket costs besides free beers, Miller Lite's real-time play earned 242 million media impressions, including 32 online placements and 48 ecstatically positive local broadcast mentions
• It also lit up social media, with 100% positive sentiment over nearly 14 million social media impressions.
Not a bad result, considering the whole thing was conceived and executed in a matter of minutes.
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