Toward the end of 2020, Budweiser, a brand long involved in soccer, executed one of our favorite marketing activations of the year. Leveraging one of their partner athletes and a record-breaking accomplishment, Budweiser sent surprise gifts to members of the soccer community.
How did Budweiser execute their Messi activation?
Former Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves was in for quite the surprise when he received 21 packages containing 21 Budweiser beer bottles, one for each goal FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi scored against him over his career. This was part of Budweiser’s celebration activation centered around Messi breaking the record for most goals scored by a single player for one club.
In December of 2020, the Argentinian scored his record 644th goal for FC Barcelona, so Budweiser sent 644 Budweiser beer bottles to every goalkeeper against whom Messi scored a goal in his career. How many goalkeepers received at least a bottle of Budweiser? 160 to be exact. Each bottle was specifically numbered between 1 and 644 to commemorate each goal Messi had scored until that point.
It’s one thing to have an all-time best player score a goal on you in your career. It’s another to receive a gift from a brand commemorating the moment in history.
"In this game, no goal is easy"
Which is why we’ve created a custom bottle for all 644 goals Leo Messi scored. Yes, that’s 644 unique bottles.
— Budweiser Football (@budfootball) December 23, 2020
Alves, who Messi has scored the most goals against in his career, among many other goalkeepers like Gigi Buffon, took to social media to share their surprise gifts and congratulate Messi for his feat. As you might expect and may have seen yourself, the clips soon went viral on social media.
.@budfootball… thanks for the beers.🍻 I’ll take it as a compliment. 😉 We have great battles over the years! Congratulations on breaking the 644 record #Messi! it really is an unbelievable achievement. Cheers! #BeAKing #ad pic.twitter.com/Rvz2kSv23B
— Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) December 24, 2020
To further celebrate the achievement, special Messi-branded Budweiser beer bottles hit the shelves in Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Russia, Spain and Vietnam according to Forbes.
After breaking the record, Messi said in a statement, “Twenty years ago, I began a journey determined to be the best player I can be and it has taken sacrifice and hard work to score every one of the 644 goals with the help of my teammates. Hopefully, fans around the world will find inspiration in my story to commit to their craft no matter how hard the journey because everyone can achieve greatness if they believe in themselves. I’m excited to partner with Budweiser to share this journey with everyone.”
What is Budweiser’s relationship with Messi?
Messi signed a reported three-year sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch back in September of last year. The partnership was agreed to not long after the Argentine ended speculation that he would leave FC Barcelona after voicing frustration with the management of the club. Additional Messi sponsors include PepsiCo, adidas, Lays, and Mastercard among others.
What are other ways Budweiser is involved in soccer?
While being a Messi sponsor is a huge catch for Budweiser, they’re investing in the sport in a multitude of other ways and is currently involved with the Premier League, La Liga, NWSL, the FIFA World Cup, and more.
Budweiser made headlines two years ago in 2019 when they became the first beer sponsor of the NWSL and became one of the league’s biggest sponsors, highlighting their commitment to both the men’s and women’s game. Budweiser then encouraged other brands to invest in the league to help build upon the success of that year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In that same year, Budweiser began their partnership with the Premier League and La Liga, allowing them to activate in 20+ countries and leverage the unique tradition and star power of both leagues.