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On Message: Corporate Events Keep the Event Message Going Strong

On Message: Corporate Events Keep the Event Message Going Strong

Three brands, three events, three stories to tell

The world's smartest event marketing strategists get the client's word out — and keep it out — from start to finish. And beyond …



THE MESSAGE, START TO FINISH: For Budweiser's 21-day cross-country campaign, beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch tapped St. Louis-based Switch ( to deliver the message “On America's Birthday, Drink America's Beer” at select fairs, festivals and resorts in the lead-up to the July Fourth holiday. The goal: to increase the brand's relevance with 21- to 35-year-old consumers while simultaneously supporting the Folds of Honor Foundation, which benefits military families.

True to its name, Switch switched up the standard program, turning a series of Bud sampling events into a data-gathering mission for the event's next phase. The firm launched the multi-day campaign by stationing brand ambassadors in bars, in stores and at events in 70 markets, where they offered cold beer samples and recorded more than 14,000 video messages from consumers to military service personnel using Switch's proprietary iPad2 app.

Uploading more than 12,000 of the recorded video clips to searchable custom Facebook and YouTube pages — where they were shared with almost 26,000 people — Switch transformed the post-event phase into a virtual event itself. The team also incorporated consumer messages — and, in turn, their own brand message — into 20 Pandora/Budweiser-channel audio spots supporting the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Notes Switch director of events and experiences Christina Wilde, “The pride, honor and respect bestowed on American service personnel in the messages gave consumers a great feeling and also gave servicemen a lift while serving abroad, since the messages could be watched from anywhere with an Internet connection.” Along with that fine feeling, Budweiser tracked a 16-percent spike in its fan-focused “Band of Buds” crew signups in sampling markets, and a “noticeable sales lift” (Budweiser doesn't share specific sales data, Wilde notes) in program markets over non-program markets.

TOP MESSAGING TOOL: Wilde says Switch's secret weapon is, and has always been, engaging story-telling: “We bring metaphors to life through customized conversations.”



THE MESSAGE, START TO FINISH: “One of the most interesting challenges our clients often face is establishing a brand presence at proprietary events that belong to their partners, their customers and sometimes even their competitors,” notes Alicia Wysk, executive creative director of Detroit-based experiential marketing giant George P. Johnson ( So how does a brand navigate conflicting interests to drive tangible results? “We always begin by crafting a dead-on targeted messaging and integrated engagement strategy,” Wysk explains.

Read the full story in the July-August issue of Special Events, available only to subscribers. Not a subscriber yet? We can fix that; renewing subscribers click here; first-time subscribers click here.

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