- Budweiser is sponsoring an interactive live music series on YouTube that will show popular artists performing their greatest hits and sharing stories with fans, a press release announced. The first episode of "Budweiser Rewind" will feature The Black Eyed Peas live from Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on May 16.
- Budweiser is urging fans to help select the songs they want to hear and ask questions of the performers on social media. The Anheuser-Busch beer brand will announce which artists will appear in future livestreams via their social channels.
- The beer brand said it is drawing on its 30-year sponsorship of Budweiser Superfest, a music festival that ran from 1980 to 2010, and reimagining it in the form of a livestreamed concert series.
Budweiser's livestreamed concert series is a sign of how the coronavirus pandemic has forced brands to shift their spending on sponsorships of live events toward entertainment that people can enjoy while stuck at home. With many performers canceling their summer tour dates or postponing them until next year, music fans are also faced with a dearth of shows until state and local authorities lift lockdowns on concert venues and clubs.
"Budweiser Rewind" is intentionally tapping into consumer nostalgia, as fans seek "comfort from familiar experiences during this time," Monica Rustgi, VP of marketing for Budweiser, said in a press statement. A reliance on warm feelings for the past is part of sister brand Bud Light's latest revival of its "Genius" spots, which take a famous series of ads from the '90s and update them with a social distancing theme. In April, Budweiser made a similar move with its iconic "Whassup" creative that first appeared in the late '90s and saw enduring popularity.
The concert series is the latest group of livestreamed events sponsored by major brands seeking to reach homebound viewers. Carmaker Fiat Chrysler last month began hosting a virtual concert series that streamed from the Facebook Live channels for its Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat and Ram brands. Pepsi sponsored a concert organized by the World Health Organization and advocacy group Global Citizen to support the fight against the pandemic. Verizon started livestreaming shows to help support small businesses suffering financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, while audio equipment company Sennheiser in March began a concert series on IGTV, Instagram's platform for livestreams and other long-form videos that is experiencing a boom among quarantined consumers.
While there are indications that beer sales have jumped at stores during the pandemic, the forced closures of bars and restaurants has decreased revenue for makers of alcoholic beverages. Budweiser's parent company AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, this month reported a loss in Q1 and warned that Q2 sales will be even worse. Its beverage volumes dropped 9.3% in Q1 from a year earlier, with a 43% plunge in the Asia Pacific region that was most affected by the pandemic.
As a global company, AB InBev has seen how its markets move through different stages of the crisis and into recovery. While China's sales fell 17% last month from a year earlier, that was a major improvement from the 47% drop during Q1, per the company's quarterly report. If those patterns persist, the U.S. market could show signs of recovery with the gradual lifting of lockdowns.