The postponement of the Olympics until 2021 is a sign to the world that sport has been shut down. Anheuser-Busch InBev, America’s largest sponsor of live sports and entertainment, has made the decision to divert the US$5m usually spent on sports and entertainment marketing to the American Red Cross to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, AB InBev has pledged to work with its sports partners to identify arenas and stadiums that can be used for temporary blood drive centres, will make its tour centres in Merrimack, New Hampshire and St. Louis available to the Red Cross and will donate media air time to the Red Cross for public service announcements. The brewer is also among the alcohol makers who have begun producing and distributing hand sanitiser. Its sanitiser is being distributed at Red Cross blood donation centres and emergency shelters.
The first of these is a Budweiser film called One Team by agency, David. It follows the This Bud is for… ad theme, its montage celebrating those who are working to keep society going during the pandemic – with a special emphasis on the Red Cross volunteers, whom it calls “angels”. The film aims to “bring hope and inspiration to the people of America who may be feeling isolated and scared during this difficult time,” AB InBev stated.
Kudos to the filmmakers. The beauty of this film, with its quietness and its post colour, underlines the poignancy of its message.
“COVID-19 has changed how we all live our lives, but it hasn’t changed Anheuser-Busch’s priorities and our commitments as an employer, a business partner and a corporate citizen,” noted Michel Doukeris, chief executive officer of AB InBev USA. “While we can’t solve this crisis on our own, we are proud to do what we can to serve and support our communities in need and the heroes on the front lines, using our capabilities, our relationships, and our reach to do our part. We invite other companies to use their unique capabilities to join us in this effort, however they can, so that together we can make a difference.”
The film is running digitally and will run on TV in the US this weekend, March 27.
Gail McGovern, president and chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, stated, “We are currently experiencing an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. In fact, about 7,000 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the country due to COVID-19 concerns, resulting in some 220,000 fewer blood donations.”
AB InBev has also created a Budweiser microsite to support its aims.