Budweiser offers Canadians ‘BBQ Insurance’

The brewer is helping Canadians protect a hotly anticipated grilling season, which has become a summer pillar for the brand.

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Budweiser raised some eyebrows last week when it announced a plan to get into the insurance business. Despite how odd it seemed, the brewer assured Canadians that it would make sense for the brand once more details were revealed.

Now that plan has come into sharper focus, with the reveal that the beer brand is rolling out “BBQ Insurance.”

The “insurance” takes the form of a contest that is running through to Sept. 1. Canadians can submit an entry online through a microsite if a mishap befalls their planned barbeque get-together – be it bad weather, running out of propane, or some other unforeseen problem.

Entrants will qualify for a chance to win a package valued at up to $2,500 in one of three draws held throughout the summer, as well as be entered into a weekly draw for secondary packages. Prizes include gift cards to replace broken equipment, a whole new grill or things like coolers, aprons and beer coozies. The first draws will take place June 30.

Mike D’Agostini, senior marketing director for Budweiser Canada, says the “creative business extension” is a modern take on insurance plans that aims to protect outdoor get-togethers, something Canadians are anticipating even more than usual this year. While it’s not a “traditional” insurance plan, he says “it’s one that aligns perfectly with Budweiser’s brand philosophy of bringing people together to enjoy time spent with friends.”

Budweiser is promoting the contest across social and digital with :06, :15 and :30-second videos, as well as on Spotify and OOH. It has once again enlisted former NHL player Paul Bissonnette, who has led several of Budweiser’s recent hockey-focused campaign, to serve as a pitchman for the campaign.

The program cuts directly to a core passion point for Budweiser consumers, D’Agostini says.

“Our customers love to barbeque and because of that, we’ve always activated around the barbecue space,” he explains. “It’s become a staple for our brand and has been an integral part of our marketing strategy for a few years now.”

For example, Budweiser ran a retail promotion linked to the barbecue season, including a giveaway of free steak and chicken from M&M Meats with the purchase of Budweiser cases. Typically, barbecue is a pillar Budweiser has shifted to when the brand’s other major pillar, pro sports, are mostly in the off-season. But last year, with sports schedules altered due to the pandemic, Budweiser blurred the lines between the two, featuring current and former athletes in grilling contests as part of a digital content series. That’s continuing this year by bringing Bissonnette into the mix for this year’s barbecue campaign.

The manner of announcing the program wasn’t traditional – D’Agostini acknowledges that Budweiser kept things deliberately vague to help “create buzz and excitement.”

“Launching with a teaser announcement that made people do a double take was an approach we’d seen other brands do and felt this launch was the right time to test it out for our brand,” he says. “While our original announcement may have left out some of the details about the full scope of our expansion into insurance, the information that we shared was completely true. We wanted to generate intrigue from our consumers and it did just that.”

Anomaly worked on creative for the campaign, with Veritas on PR, Vizeum on media and Labatt’s internal agency DraftLine handling social.