Budweiser hopes to repeat its partnership with Uber in the New Year as it looks to be “disruptive and bold” with its responsible drinking campaigns.
The AB InBev-owned beer brand is offering new Uber users free rides home throughout December when they sign up and use Budweiser’s promotional code, which it says encourages people to pre-plan their journeys home throughout the festive period.
While the offer is only valid for new Uber customers, Budweiser will also be unveiling an additional offer for all Uber customers in the run-up to Christmas and on Christmas Eve.
The campaign also features the UK television debut of Budweiser’s Superbowl ad featuring actress Helen Mirren, in which she tells viewers “not to be a pillock” by drinking and then driving.
Budweiser believes that as “one of the biggest” beer brands in the world it has a responsibility to encourage people to not drink and drive. In previous years the brand has focused on getting its responsible drinking message across by handing out Budweiser Christmas jumpers, to be worn by the designated driver. It has also handed out water at Budweiser-sponsored events with taxi numbers on the bottle.
This time around, however, the brand was keen to organise a campaign on a much bigger scale and deemed Uber a “natural” partner due to its previous campaign activity installing breathalysers in pubs and raising funds to fight the cause.
“They share a common agenda around not drink and driving, and they have great national scale as they are now in over 20 cities in the UK,” AB InBev’s marketing director for the UK and Ireland Nick Robinson tells Marketing Week.
Robinson adds there is also scope for the brand to further its partnership with Uber, depending on campaign results.
“We’re very excited about the potential of the next three or four weeks and to see how it goes with Uber. It’s our first major partnership with them and they are equally excited about it,” he says.
“Undoubtedly in January we will assess the impact and scale for both parties, but I would be hopeful that if it’s as successful as we think it will be, we can extend into 2017 and look to repeat it again.”
Budweiser is not the only beer brand to partner with a digital disruptor. Last month, Heineken tied up with online food delivery service Deliveroo to offer beer deliveries.
When questioned on whether AB InBev would be interested in going down a similar route, Robinson says the company already has a “distinct and separate” part of the organisation where it is focused on ecommerce and finding alternative methods to supply its brands to consumers. It is also reconsidering how it is working with retailers and their online businesses.
He concludes: “We have our own initiatives. For example, we purchased specific beer specialist websites last year. We are definitely looking at different ways beyond the conventional approaches to make beer available to consumers in different formats.”