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Messi and Budweiser cheers to record-breaking feat

In Nifty's latest blog, our PR Manager, Sam Wright explains why Budweiser's stunt with Lionel Messi ticked all the boxes of an outstanding marketing campaign. Read Sam's thoughts below.


Here at Nifty, we like to tip our hat to sheer PR brilliance, and today we want to relook at one of the best sporting campaigns of 2020.

The centrepiece for such an idea, like it so often is, was Lionel Messi. Now for those that have just landed on planet earth from outer space, let me just quickly give you an introduction to the little Argentine.

The saying, ‘Good things come in small packages’ is suited to no one better than this man, what he can do with a football has never been seen before, with many people believing his sweet left foot has been sent from the gods. He still is, and has been, Barcelona’s star player for more than 15 years, achieving numerous trophies, including four Champions Leagues and a staggering TEN La Liga titles. To some he is deemed to be the best ever (for me, personally, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo, but that’s another blog for another day) and relooking at his achievements and statistics over the years, it’s definitely a fair argument.

Now let me take you back to December last year when Messi had just scored his record 644th (that’s not a typo) goal for Spanish giants, Barcelona. This meant he had now surpassed Pele’s record of the most goals for a single club, and a certain beer company were licking their lips and waiting in the wings.

Upstep Budweiser, who could smell a show-stopping campaign from a mile off. They approached Messi with the idea of sending a branded bottle of beer to each goalkeeper who suffered at the hands, or should I say feet, of Messi. And I don’t mean each GK received one measly bottle, as each bottle represented one goal, meaning one keeper, in particular, received a total of 19 (bless him)!

The campaign itself showcased Messi skills once again, as we saw some of the best keepers in the world receiving bottle after bottle, with Iker Casillas, who was Messi’s Real Madrid rival for so many years being sent 17, yes 17! Before Messi, he probably barely let that in per season.

From that you may be thinking, how did all the goalkeepers take it? There must have been uproar? No, the total opposite, and this was where Budweiser was so clever. They knew conceding against Messi was nothing to be ashamed of, and even somehow managed to turn it into a positive. Instagram became filled with famous goalkeepers such as Gianluigi Buffon, who many believe to be the best to ever put on a pair of goalie gloves, sitting pretty and smiling with his (very respectable) two bottles, even sharing videos THANKING Lionel for the beers! The shares on the social network alone surpassed hundreds of millions in reach.

In terms of a PR campaign, this ticked all the boxes. It grabbed the attention of the public, it reached far and wide, it positively associated all the affiliated brands and most importantly in this case, it was so well received by the intended targets. There is no denying that it would have had a substantial cost to it, you simply do not work with Messi for pennies, however, the return on investment would have been more than worth it and it gets a huge thumbs up from us all here at Nifty.

Cheers, Budweiser.

nifty communications is a pr & marketing agency with a difference. everything we do is fuelled by the latest Google data, so we position our clients in the centre of topical discussion through an integrated marketing environment called the niftyverse.

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