During the off-season, the Chicago Bulls and Bud Light sat down to talk about objectives for our partnership for the upcoming season. Bud Light wanted to humanize and localize the Bud Light brand to the Chicago area. They were also focused on creating awareness and driving sales for their new Chicago Bulls-branded Bud Light can.
The Chicago Bulls strive to provide 'differentiated content' for our fans and this means making partnership content feel like great digital content, rather than feeling like a 'logo slap'. Our fans all over the world should be able to get a sense of the legendary experience that is watching a live NBA game at the United Center.
The combination of these goals and objectives of the two organizations led to the creation of the #BullsIGTakeover campaign for the 2016-17 season.
The Chicago Bulls have worked with NoPattern's Chuck Anderson for the last few seasons and saw an opportunity to partner with him on a more formal basis on this initiative.
Together with Bud Light, we agreed on an Instagram takeover program in which Bud Light would provide great photographers from Chicago's creative community exclusive access to the United Center before, during and after games, and these photographers would 'take over' the Chicago Bulls Instagram account for the evening. The photographers would have different styles so that each game where a takeover photographer was present would have a slightly different feel, but the hashtag #BullsIGTakeover was created to help bring the initiative together.
To really hammer home that the effort was a collaboration between The Chicago Bulls, Bud Light and the photographers, all #BullsIGTakeover content mentions the photographer and Bud Light (i.e. #BullsIGTakeover x @NoPattern x @BudLight)
In order to reinforce Bud Light's role and support the launch of the Chicago Bulls-branded Bud Light can, we decided to ask the photographers to provide a 'Chicago-themed' picture of the Chicago Bulls-branded Bud Light can in their individual styles. Each takeover night starts with a daytime post announcing the game's photographer and featuring their personal picture of the Bulls Bud Light can.
From a data perspective, the #BullsIGTakeover photos on Instagram have performed at almost two times the normal rate of engagement against all other partnership content that we've put up on Instagram this season. We've also seen that our most engaged piece of content for the entire season to date (including non-partnership content) was a #BullsIGTakeover shot, where the photographer (@JesseLirola) was able to get an amazing behind-the-scenes photo of Butler and Wade celebrating a win (https://www.instagram.com/p/BO_W4cXgTnm).
To date, we've seen almost 2 million engagements on #BullsIGTakeover content on Instagram, and we're not done with the program yet!
From a Bud Light perspective, they not only saw a significant increase in in-market sales, but the Chicago Bulls-branded team can also became one of their top selling team cans in the U.S. One of the most interesting things has been fans reaction to the Bulls Bud Light can shots, which are by far the most overtly 'partnership' photos that we've ever published to our Instagram account. The cans are only available in the Chicagoland area so people who live outside of the area have been tagging friends and asking them to buy them the cans to send to them.
The Bud Light team also felt that the content did a create job of humanizing the brand, and making it feel more local to Chicago. The partnership has been highlighted throughout Bud Light's marketing teams and is being mirrored across more markets and professional sports teams.