Budweiser is hiring someone to watch hockey

The brand is kicking off its new "Lay It On The Line" campaign by bringing a "chief hockey officer" (and their friends) on board.
budCHO

Budweiser has kicked off its new “Lay It On The Line” hockey platform by paying someone to watch games with their friends.

On Monday, job postings appeared on LinkedIn and other job sites for a “Chief Hockey Officer” role with Budweiser, offering a $50,000 salary to someone willing to watch all of their favourite team’s games this season, along with three friends. The position, which is accepting applications until Sept. 25, was also promoted in print ads in commuter newspapers. On Tuesday, a paid social execution promoted a video featuring former NHL player Paul Bissonnette making a comedic recruitment pitch on behalf of the beer brand.

Anomaly Toronto worked on the campaign.

Much of Budweiser’s connection to hockey in recent years has been built through the “Red Light,” a connected goal lamp that lights up whenever someone’s favourite team scores during a game. But the brand has taken a more emotional approach with its “Red Light”-related campaigns, tapping into the excitement and joy that comes from a goal.

David Sheedy, senior brand manager for Budweiser at Labatt Breweries of Canada, says the “Red Light” isn’t going away, as the platform is still performing well, but the brand needed to do something different this year in order to communicate a core message that was previously one element of the “Red Light” campaigns: coming together with friends through hockey.

“We’re all so busy, we’re all connected digitally, but we have never been more disconnected in the real world,” Sheedy says. “This was an opportunity to really lean into how Budweiser encourages people to make time for what matters and bring friends together, which is frequently done through sports and hockey. We have a role to play in bringing people together and making those moments more exciting.”

The “Chief Hockey Officer” activation is the kickoff for this year’s “Lay It On The Line” hockey campaign, which will feature more content and trade campaigns throughout this year’s season (Budweiser also announced a partnership with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association earlier this month). Sheedy says the “Chief Hockey Officer” position is as simple as it sounds, but how exactly the brand will elevate the selected applicant’s hockey viewing experience – and that of their friends – will depend on the person chosen.

Sheedy says this year’s hockey campaign is a more emotive follow-up to a summer spent on more functional marketing that emphasized product attributes as part of a new brand positioning. Finding new ways to insert the Budweiser brand into hockey moments in a way that enhances the viewing experience is especially important as viewing habits around sports continue to change.

“The traditional model of watching and sitting down for 60 games is more in the past,” he says. “This is our run at ensuring that we are engaging fans in all the right channels and forums in a playful and fun way. We still think there is an opportunity for us to put a stake in the ground. We need to bring friends together and do so now more than ever.”