5 Lessons Learned From Bud Light's 'Up for Whatever' and Always' 'Like a Girl' Campaigns

Here's how to use fun interaction and deep emotional connection like these companies did with their wildly successful experimental marketing attempts.

learn more about David Saef

By David Saef

Bud Light | Youtube
The Journey to Whatever - #UpForWhatever Bottle | Bud Light

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It's not difficult to create a flash-in-the-pan marketing campaign. An original jingle, an eye-catching image or a thought-provoking statement is all you need. But to create a campaign that keeps on working for your brand, you need a message and a method with the potential to go viral and to sustain a following for the long haul.

It's especially important for you to engage target audiences with experiential marketing campaigns as an innovative way to help them remember you. You're also probably marketing on a budget, which means you have to capitalize on every piece of content you put out and to make sure your message is multiplying without any extra investment.

Related: How to Experiment With Marketing Without Ruining Your Business

So here's how you can turn a one-time ad into an experiential campaign guaranteed to be shared:

1. Give your customers the palpable experience they crave.

Bring your customers into your world by giving them a real experience they'll remember and share for years to come. Bud Light's "Up for Whatever" campaign achieved this when it took over the town of Crested Butte, Colo., painting its trademark blue all over main street and branding its lampposts and benches.

Another great example of the physical experience campaign is Fox's "Gotham" promotion at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con, featuring a zip line through the streets of Gotham and a collaboration with Uber to offer free rides in Gotham-branded police cars.

The key to making physical experiences work for your brand is to provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to share as they go and to collect memorabilia that encourage them to keep sharing long after the event ends.

2. Maximize your shareability.

You can maximize the impact of your marketing campaign by adapting your original message and making it work for other channels. Bud Light did this with its "Up for Whatever" campaign, combining social, live, gamified and content marketing.

Bud Light's content was inherently sharable because it was fun, addictive and easy to digest. Plus, it tapped in to consumers' "fear of missing out." Bud Light also made its message multiply by capturing the results of its activities and events so participants would keep sharing through social media.

Related: Bud Light's Lighthearted 'Up for Whatever' Campaign Takes a Dark Turn

3. Tug at the heartstrings.

One of the latest viral marketing campaigns to strike an emotional chord with the American public was the #LIKEAGIRL campaign by Always, which illuminated the negative, destructive connotations behind the phrase "like a girl." The initial video showed young girls turning the phrase into a statement of strength and power rather than weakness.

By speaking to a common confidence problem and then picking it apart on-screen, Always created a lasting emotional impact with its audience. The brand then built on that feeling with a multifaceted campaign, and it has become almost an institution in its own right.

4. Invite your biggest fans to be your ambassadors.

Leverage the passion of your loyal followers by turning their enthusiasm into virality. Identify your biggest supporters -- the ones who are always commenting on your posts or recommending you to their networks. These people will be ready and willing to help you spread your message further. Invite them to become your brand ambassadors, and reward them for writing reviews and sharing your news with free tickets to your next event or free brand swag.

5. Don't write the first chapter without outlining chapters 2 and 3.

Campaigns that grow from one great ad to a never-ending campaign are those that are planned ahead. Your campaign must have the scope to grow and evolve, to take tangents and to involve other products and new audiences. Always did this when it collaborated with educational brands TED and Confidence Summit, so it could really take action on its confidence message.

If you want your brand to truly go viral, you need to first make it impossible for your customers to resist sharing your campaign. Create a message that your users can experience firsthand, and activate all available channels so your message can be shared and multiplied into infinity.

Related: Is Women's Empowerment Marketing the New 'Pink It and Shrink It'?

David Saef

Executive Vice President, GES

David Saef is the executive vice president of MarketWorks and strategy at GES, a Las Vegas-based global event marketing company with a long history of connecting people through live events. The company has more than 3,000 passionate employees throughout the world, who provide unparalleled service and consistent execution of breakthrough experience that blend art and science to foster engagement.


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