The campaign is built on "a very strong millennial insight."
Bud Light had a major success with its 2014 Super Bowl campaign from BBDO, in which it ditched its traditional gameday dog and bro jokes for a real-world stunt that rewarded a random Bud Light drinker for being "Up for Whatever" by treating him to a spontaneous, celeb-filled epic night.
Conceptually strong, the work was well executed too, and won a gold Lion in Film Craft at Cannes this summer.
By the time of the Cannes festival, though, the Anheuser-Busch brand was already well into executing even an more ambitious "Up for Whatever" campaign from BBDO. It's been creating a whole mysterious Bud Light town called "Whatever USA" and inviting millennials—via a huge summer-long TV, social and in-bar campaign—to audition for a chance to be invited there in September for a weekend of all-out branded partying.
Bud Light brand director David Daniels said the real-world nature of the Super Bowl ad, and the element of unexpectedness it embraced, were hugely appealing to its target of 21- to 27-year-old beer drinkers—and inspired the brand team, too.
"There was one tweet we put on the wall here coming out of the Super Bowl. It said, 'I thought I heard helicopters outside. Bud Light. I'm up for whatever.' We've used that as inspiration as we've built out the campaign," Daniels said. "These are real moments with real people who have no idea what's going to happen, but they're willing to take a chance and embrace the unexpected, which is a very strong millennial insight."
The Whatever USA campaign kicked off in mid-May in the on-trade (i.e., on site at bars), with brand activation managers using a toolkit, including a camera, to audition people to be invited to the mystery town for the big event on Sept. 5-7. Consumers can also audition at UpForWhatever.com.
The brand has been posting some audition videos to YouTube: