August 2020 was not particularly an amazing time just like most of 2020. Live sports had just started coming back across the world. Some countries were recovering from the first wave of the pandemic while some were busy fighting the second wave, and some others were still not out of the shock of the aftermath of the first wave.
Amongst all this, if you were a supporter of FC Barcelona, it seemed like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. After the club, amongst financial turmoil, publicly claimed they were looking at a possibility of declaring bankruptcy, hell broke loose. Even club legend, captain, and one of the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi publicly criticized the management and even went on to say he was not sure of a future at Camp Nou. And just the thought of Lionel Messi playing for a club other than Barcelona put the footballing world into a frenzy.
What followed in the next couple of months was lots of drama, lots of speculations, and lots of surprises. But what we are talking about today is a partnership that started amidst this frenzy and went to altogether another level this last week. The partnership between Budweiser and Lionel Messi. In early September, the American Beer Giant announced the FC Barcelona captain as their Global Ambassador. The announcement was cheeky to say the least, as the video they made took a dig at the club, the fans, and the whole saga that was unfolding off the field. And they very neatly introduced their two slogans, ‘Never give up on Greatness’ & ‘Be a King’.
More than 3 months later on the 23rd of December 2020, Messi broke Pele’s record of scoring most goals for a single club by scoring his 644th for FCB. What followed was one of the most brilliant sponsorship activation football has ever seen. Budweiser designed 644 personalized beer bottles with personalized packaging and a message from Messi and sent it to the 160 goalkeepers he scored each of those goals against. Which if you think makes sense because they had already launched Messi-branded beer bottles in 8 different countries after signing the deal with the star. Budweiser has with this activation, not only immortalized this once in a lifetime feat, but they also managed to rope in most of those 160 goalkeepers to give them increased engagement and traction by getting them to post about this ‘gift’ on their social media.
From some of the best goalkeepers in the world like Gianluigi Buffon, Jan Oblak to goalkeepers like Marko Dmitrović who happened to concede the 644th goal last week, everyone has been happy enough to be part of this wonderful feat and have shared the same on their respective social channels. Budweiser truly made the most of this feat and there is no doubt the entire partnership began in the first place eyeing this feat and the campaign in mind.
It will be very interesting to keep an eye on how this partnership further buds. Pun intended!