The NBA is restarting its season without fans in attendance due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, Michelob Ultra has created a new campaign that still gives basketball fans the ultimate courtside experience.
The Michelob Ultra Courtside campaign includes a digital sweepstakes for 300 fans to “attend” games inside the arena via giant video conferencing screens from Microsoft Teams. The beer brand created a microsite for the campaign where fans can enter to win a seat for each game, beginning with the league’s return on July 30. Michelob Ultra’s Instagram and Twitter channels will also promote the campaign and provide reminders to fans to enter the sweepstakes for each game. Additionally, its social media channels will feature exclusive giveaways and prizes that followers can score as part of the Ultra Courtside experience. The campaign is being further promoted through social media using the hashtag #ULTRACourtside. Using social media could help Michelob Ultra drive engagement with loyal basketball fans, according to a Gartner report, as well as connect itself with the NBA’s social channels, which currently boast a combined 120 million followers.
In addition to a social media campaign, Michelob Ultra has drafted Miami Heat player Jimmy Butler for a series of lighthearted commercials. The first spot debuted on July 23 and features Butler singing along to Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams” as he packed his bags to head to Orlando for the NBA Restart. Using a fan favorite player for its commercial series could help Michelob Ultra connect with excited fans and build anticipation for the return of live games. The NBA will be broadcasting its games on TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV which gives Michelob Ultra a prime opportunity to adapt its advertising to each channel. The beverage brand is doubling down on audience engagement by combining its social media campaign with its in-game branding. By launching a multi-platform campaign for the NBA’s return, the beverage brand demonstrates how sponsors can effectively advertise in the pandemic era of live sports.
Fans play a large role in the live sporting experience, so it makes sense that Michelob Ultra would create a campaign centered around fan inclusivity at NBA games. Michelob Ultra’s new push could build loyalty with basketball fans, as the brand helps them experience live games in an original and entertaining way, even while the pandemic keeps them homebound.