Music is playing a critical role in Budweiser’s global marketing initiatives.

Building on its long-running sponsorship of FIFA World Cup, Budweiser over the past two years has doubled down on music as a global platform to engage consumers through digital content and shared experiences.

Budweiser kicked off the initiative in 2012 with a partnership with Jay-Z and the inaugural Budweiser Made in America festival. Budweiser broadened its involvement in music in 2013 with Made for Music, a global campaign that featured Jay-Z and Rihanna in TV ads, digital content and other marketing initiatives.

Budweiser this year has expanded the campaign with Made Underground, a digital content series in which two artists—Jamie N Commons and the X Ambassadors—visit London, New York City, Philadelphia and Rio de Janeiro in search of a hand-picked “busker” to re-record the artists’ hit single Jungle and perform the song at the Budweiser Made in America festival.

The brand is supporting the campaign with additional events in the U.S. and other markets. Budweiser this year expanded Made in America with a second festival in Los Angeles that will run concurrently with the Philadelphia event on Labor Day weekend. The brand is leveraging the festivals with Made-themed concerts and nightclub events across the country.

Outside the U.S., Budweiser is sponsoring Budweiser Storm EDM festivals and nightclub events in China.  In Canada, Budweiser last month launched the “Epic Concert” TV ad in which the brand surprised an up-and-coming band with a concert in front of a large audience and the opportunity to perform in the Budweiser Made in America festival in Philadelphia.

Looking to tie the pieces of the program together, IEG SR spoke with Camilo Durana, Budweiser’s global director of sports and entertainment, about the thinking behind the music platform, how the program has evolved over the past two years, and other topics.

Below are edited excerpts from the conversation.

The thinking behind Budweiser’s global music platform  
Since 2008 we have been on a mission to position Budweiser as the world’s first truly global beer brand. In addition to launching the brand in new markets and reevaluating the brand’s positioning in other markets, we looked for global marketing opportunities.

FIFA World Cup is one of those moments when the entire world is focused on a single event, which is incredibly important for the Budweiser brand. Music is a space that is equally important in connecting people all over the world.

Our U.S. team launched the Budweiser Made in America festival in 2012 as the global brand team looked for opportunities to drive scale and connectivity between everything that we’re doing. We saw music as a perfect space to launch global initiatives on an annual basis.

The launch of Made for Music last year was the first time we had a truly global campaign with 85 markets marching to the beat of one drummer.

How the Made In America festival supports the global music strategy
Made for Music is a global campaign, while the Budweiser Made in America festival is one of our pillar experiential events. The festival started off as a U.S.-centric event but has grown to become an important part of the global campaign.

The festival isn’t just an experience for U.S. consumers—it’s a tremendous content factory that we use to provide experiences and content from top musicians around the world through live streams, real-time content that we develop with Vice and influencers who share their experiences.

The Budweiser Made in America festival has become more than just an event—it’s an opportunity to share the value and ideas of the Made for Music campaign with the rest of the world.


On distributing content through social media
We don’t try to drive people to a single location. We’re rather be accessible and serve content where consumers already are. Made Underground and other content series that we’re working on will live on YouTube, but we’ll have other versions—including short form versions or stills—that will live on other social media platforms.

The thinking behind Made Underground
When we look at global campaigns we want to touch on universal ideas and content that consumers throughout the world will share. Music is a universal language. We want to bring people closer to the creative process and the artists who have made it or are working to make it.

Made Underground does just that. We created an enormous amount of content with Rihanna and other top artists; Made Underground goes into the world of subway music, a genre whose musicians are equally passionate about their craft and aspirations as more popular artists.

Made Underground ties into one of our pillar events, dives into cities around the world and creates connectivity between our markets. The program tells a beautiful story in an impactful way that consumers in key markets can relate to.