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Budweiser fuels mobile strategy via race car app with surround video technology

A new interactive mobile application from Budweiser enables users to experience what it is like to drive a NASCAR race car sponsored by the brand.

The Bud 360 app uses surround video technology to provide users with a 360-degree look inside the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS driven by Kevin Harvick as he completes several laps at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Budweiser is promoting the app via its Facebook and Twitter accounts to help activate its sponsorship.

?It's an activation element that provides fans with a truly unique experience with Budweiser's driver, Kevin Harvick,? said Joe Muehlenkamp, U.S. brand communications at Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, MO.

?The users first see Budweiser driver Kevin Harvick climbing into the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet,? he said. ?From there, they control the camera's 360-degree view to experience what it's like to ride along with Harvick at speeds of 190 mph on a 1.5-mile track.?

The race is on
App users control the view from inside the car, giving them an opportunity to experience the sensation of speed around a race track from various angles. Users can look at Mr. Harvick?s feet and hands as he does laps.

Additionally, users can view the back of the car, the right side and the left side.

The proprietary surround video technology uses footage from five independent sources that is combined together into one video. Special rigs were designed in conjunction with the Richard Childress Racing team to install the system both inside and outside of the new Gen 6 Chevrolet SS for the shoot.

The app is available for free download in Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPad devices.

Driving engagement
Mobile is playing an important role for brands in their sports-related sponsorships, and an app such as this is a good way for Budweiser - which is active in sports marketing - to drive engagement with racing fans.

?Consumers gravitate toward custom and exclusive content and the Bud 360 app delivers just that,? said Jesse Chaset, senior vice president of mobile solutions, Burst Media, Burlington, MA.

?The nature of the app provides a unique, intimate experience to the user and affords Budweiser an unparalleled opportunity to engage with their customers thru relevant, exciting content that not only keeps the user engaged, but that delivers an experience they cannot get elsewhere,? she said.

Exclusive content
Consumers are passionate about sports and mobile presents a way for brands to reach this audience in an environment they are equally passionate about: their phones and tablets.

Promoting the app via social media channels is a smart move for Budweiser as a recent report from Burst Media shows that one-third of mobile users say their phone or tablet is the primary way they access social media accounts.

To keep users coming back to an app such as the Bud 360 app, it is important to consistently update it with fresh content.

?Mobile must play a critical role for brands in their sports related sponsorships,? Ms. Chaset said.

?In addition to the personalized nature of the mobile environment, brands also need to consider the second screen viewing habits of their consumers,? she said. ?Brands can't deny or ignore the fact that sports fans are actively engaging in supplemental mobile content while watching their favorite sports live or on TV.

?The nature of the NASCAR schedule and the allegiance fans have to specific cars and drivers lends really sets the stage for Budweiser to keep innovating the exclusive content offered to consumers thru the Bud 360 app.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York