AB InBev: Brewing Dreams, Sustainability and Global Impact
AB InBev: Brewing Dreams, Sustainability and Global Impact
Global VP, Premium Brands, AB InBev
Home to both the most valuable and fastest-growing beer brands in the world, AB InBev is on a mission to champion its brands to an ever-growing global audience.
Budweiser, defending its long-held place as the most valuable beer brand in the world, and Corona, the fastest-growing global beer brand by value, are only two of AB InBev’s many subsidiary brands and are once again recognized as Interbrand Best Global Brands. Budweiser and Corona alike showcase AB InBev’s commitment to clarity in purpose and brand identity.
While many of AB InBev’s brands are brand powerhouses today, five years ago, the parent company had a reckoning; it determined that it was time to build brands, not buy brands.
“It was time to put people and creativity at the heart of the company,” AB InBev Global VP, Premium Brands Richard Oppy said. “When a brand knows what it stands for, all of its brand activations connect with this bigger brand ideal.”
In 2018, AB InBev embarked on a journey to become the best company in the world at creative effectiveness. Now boasting two Cannes Marketer of the Year Awards and two Effie Most Effective Worldwide Marketer of the Year Awards, AB InBev’s creative has been recognized on the world’s biggest stages. It accomplished these massive achievements thanks to what Oppy, who manages global brand for Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and Michelob Ultra, described as the 3 P’s: People, Process and Partners.
“We knew that the only way to [reach our goals] was if all the brands in our portfolio and all our teams across the world worked together to really improve and drive creativity across the organization,” Oppy said.
Through a powerful combination of building internal creative agency draftLine, developing a universal language to discuss creativity and measure progress and targeted partnerships with top creative minds, AB InBev has not only accomplished its goal, but surpassed it.
Long heralded as the most valuable beer brand in the world, Budweiser’s global brand isn’t slowing down any time soon. Leveraging major events like the FIFA World Cup, Budweiser has constructed its brand around the idea of the facilitation of dreams.
“We don’t want to just inspire people to seize their opportunities and to fulfill their dreams, but we also want to be an enabler for people to go after those dreams,” Oppy said.
During major events, AB InBev is able to apply gained insights and strong consumer behavior understandings to optimize its supply chain and increase demand. However, these events can also carry great deals of risk. Mere days before the 2022 men’s World Cup, organizers banned the sale of alcohol inside the stadium, upending part of Budweiser’s plans for the event. While AB InBev strategically activated offers two hours before games, Budweiser pivoted, giving away its entire warehouse stock in Qatar to the winning country. The bold campaign was named “Bring Home the Bud” and won Budweiser a prestigious Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity.
“We brought our purpose to life through creativity at scale, but also showed the agility of the team to mobilize across the world to get people excited,” Oppy said.
With an over 40-year partnership with FIFA in addition to a new partnership with the UFC and many more, Budweiser also continues to emphasize the Partnerships pillar of the 3 P’s. By building trust and aligning a partnership vision, Budweiser continues to champion its brand while also tying it to some of the top dream-making moments in the world—for consumers and partners alike. Following an up-and-coming artist concert sponsored by Budweiser and held outside the annual Brit Awards, headliner Mychelle was scouted by Kobalt Music.
“This is where we become much bigger than just inspiring,” Oppy said. “We actually become a facilitator for people to achieve their dreams.”
Corona was born at the beach—and it seeks to protect its home.
Corona’s commitment to environmental sustainability sits at the heart of the brand, evident in partnerships with organizations like Oceanic Global, contributing to beach protection and cleanup initiatives. Corona has taken monumental steps toward a plastic-free world, becoming the world’s first global beverage brand to achieve a net-zero plastic footprint.
The Corona Sunset World Tour Festival, a music experience on some of the world’s best beaches, was blue-certified, ensuring eco-friendly practices were maintained across the 10 shows. As the Sunset World Tour Festival plans to expand in 2024, Corona also hopes for the festival to become a self-funding event, avoiding negative impacts on business and the planet alike. Corona also achieved a major milestone in 2022: creating the world’s first-ever plastic free island. Corona Island fosters an ecotourism environment where visitors relax and connect with nature in a sustainable way.
“Corona is deeply committed to the natural world, encouraging consumers to unwind, to reconnect with and preserve the beauty of nature,” Oppy said.
This profound understanding of what the brand stands for translates into impactful brand activations across various platforms. While the Corona brand is known for its connection to nature, the Corona experience is built around two things: relaxation and limes.
A lime wedge in a Corona bottle is a classic way to enjoy the beverage. However, in regions of China where fresh limes were scarce, consumers weren’t able to participate in the lime ritual. In order to bring this experience to Chinese consumers, Corona worked with Chinese farmers for years to cultivate limes and later launched a new product: Corona Extra Limes. The initiative won Corona a Titanium Lion at the Cannes Festival for Creativity, proving that innovation can be present anywhere—from the world’s first plastic-free island, to a humble lime.
As Budweiser, Corona and AB InBev’s other portfolio brands find new ways to empower consumers, their creative capabilities continue to grow, ushering in an era of increasingly powerful branding.
“We continue to bet on creativity—on bringing the best content product experiences to our consumers in everything we do—because we know that is what will help build the power of our brands, and ultimately, long term growth,” Oppy said. “I think our creative story is just getting started.”