Cailyn McCutcheon, Account Executive
Budweiser recently made an emotional splash. This past week, Budweiser released an advertisement featuring Dwayne Wade as he bids farewell to his NBA career. The advertisement capitalized on how Wade has used his success to give back to his fans who are struggling to overcome obstacles of life. For this past season, Wade has captured cameras on the court by switching jerseys with other players; it’s been coined his final season statement. In this advertisement, in the same spirit, the fans approach Wade on the court and offer him a sentimental article of their clothing.
Wade first meets a woman whose brother died in the Parkland High School shooting. At one point, Wade wore the name of her brother on his shoes in his honor. One by one, several others approach Wade: a woman that went to school only because Wade paid her tuition, a struggling man who got back on track with Wade’s life story, and a woman that used a contribution by Wade to take her family on a shopping spree after her house burnt down in a fire right before Christmas.
Finally, Jolinda Wade walks out onto the court, presenting him with her pastor robes. Wade grew up in Chicago, and as one of four children himself, his mother sent him to live with his father while she fought to overcome her drug addiction, constricting the ability to create a stable home life. Wade visited his mother while she spent time in prison, never giving up on her in overcoming addiction, and healing her with his endless love. When she became clean, he purchased her a church where she currently resides as the pastor.
Despite the fact that I am not a fan of basketball, this advertisement moved me to tears. Until that moment, I was unaware of what deep connections Wade has forged with his fans and his family. I found this to be a highly strategic choice by Budweiser as it solidifies the idea of NBA athletes in the profession for more than stardom and money.
In reading about the advertisement, I questioned the connection between Budweiser and the NBA. Do they sponsor the league? I found that Budweiser has sponsored the NBA since 1998 which is why the brand can use NBA trademarks, but interestingly, a recent deal between Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of Budweiser, and the players unions of both the MLB and the NBA is what fueled the creation of the campaign. This deal is historically significant as many pro sports leagues have been reluctant to promote content that connects alcohol consumption and athletic superiority. This advertisement is not to be missed as an exceptional piece of art from the brand.
To watch this moving advertisement, click this link: https://bit.ly/2Z0h6kV