The Budweiser Consumer Social Responsibility team within Anheuser-Busch InBev wanted to amplify its "Designate a Driver" message to a never-before-achieved level of awareness. The work needed to attract attention and also drive conversation and publicity in measurable ways.
Create a compelling story that puts a new twist on what is traditionally an overly preachy message: Don't Drink and Drive.
On September 19, "Friends are Waiting" made its digital debut on Global Be(er) Responsible Day.
We made an impression on people everywhere, inspiring them to take action and drink responsibly with a clear relatable message: "Make a plan to make it home. Your friends are counting on you."
The positive social media response was outstanding.
Online success led to TV spots airing during MBL Wild Card games, Playoffs and World Series.
[SS1]Seems like a word we don't need when we say "viral"
From brief to pitch through execution, "Friends are Waiting" was a true creative challenge.
The client challenge: Create a sharable video concept that puts a new twist on an overly preached message – "Don't Drive Drunk" and make an impression on the ever-targeted Millennial. No scare tactics or statistics, because we want people to enjoy our beer, we just don't want them to drive drunk. Time was tight—the chosen concept would launch September 19 for Global Be(er) Responsible Day.
We know Millennials want to experience things their own way. They want to inspire the next generation in a different way. We cannot force expectations on them or tell them what to do.
They know drunk driving is wrong and statistics on the subject have been done to the point of being ineffectual. We didn't want to tell them what they already knew. We wanted to tell them a story. Make them feel something. Which would inspire them to take action and create their own smart solutions.
So, we found a different approach. Our video wouldn't focus only on repercussions of drunk driving, it would also embrace the benefits of making a smart decision. We could have our cake and eat it too, while having a bit of fun with the audience by incorporating a surprise twist—a much happier ending. Momentum created a story that Millennials (and really everyone) could relate to—a story about friendship and love.
"Friends are Waiting" tells the story of a dog and his best friend. Together they experience the joys and woes of young adulthood together. Forming a bond so strong that nothing can tear them apart. It comes down to one night when the young man heads out with his friends. He assures his best friend he'll see him later. Time passes. The sun comes up and the dog stares out the window. He puts his head down and sighs.
This story and its powerful message went from digital to TV overnight because of the consumers' and then clients' excitement. The Budweiser CSR Brand teams were overwhelmed with interest and excitement for how the message on such a sensitive topic could be presented in a positive and uplifting way to take action on making a plan to make it home.
We are very proud of this work. It represents what our creative team strives to do on every assignment, and that's to make a connection between our brands and their audience—an emotional connection that breathes new life into—and redefines—industry standards.
The media and consumers' enormous following speak for the success on cutting through to the audience we needed.
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