2021 Winner

Michelob Ultra

Cal for Cal


SilverContent Strategy

The world of branded content is extremely competitive, so Michelob Ultra (MU), who has always had to rely on niche targeting, was acutely aware of the need to stand out from the crowd. But perceptions of beer as bloating and heavy are deeply ingrained, so the agency couldn’t just tell them that MU is a different kind of beer, they had to get them involved with the content, and actually prove it to them.
They had to engage with a more health-conscious consumer and get them to see that MU is a different kind of beer that shares their values and that doesn’t take away from their healthier lifestyles, but actually helps them live a better, more balanced life.

For their fitness-focused target, the holiday season is a time where the balance of active/social can fall off the rails. At the same time the target was trying to find time to burn off their extra holiday treats, millions of Canadians would be struggling to find their next meal. They knew they wanted to help, believing that if they could get the target involved, they would be able to both build a deeper relationship with them, improve their brand meaning scores, and help fellow Canadians in need.

The target’s existing behaviour – posting their workouts to social media – was a habit MU could uniquely jump on and use as a force for good. Introducing “Ultra Cal For Cal”: A social media campaign for good that transformed calories burned at the gym into calories of food donated to those in need, all thanks to the beer for those who live fit and fun.
People already love to post their workout results or gym selfies on social media, they just needed to find a way to get them to donate those calories to the campaign.

First, they launched on social media via influencers and with The Running Room to spread the word and explain how the program worked. Short, eye-catching videos depicted different workout equipment being turned into food items – such as barbells into cans of tuna – visually demonstrated the good that could come from taking part in the program.

To get the most donations, they wanted to make sure participation was as easy as possible for the target and that they were able to include everyone. For those with a calorie-tracking workout app, they could screenshot their results and post it to social media using the hashtag. No app? No problem. You could also submit by telling them what your workout consisted of and they would use an average calculation in order to estimate your calories burned.

Then, when COVID hit, the need for food banks skyrocketed. Plus, gyms had closed – meaning the target was desperate to get in a workout at home. So, they launched Instagram and Facebook Live workouts hosted by fitness influencers. The target just showed up and sweat, and then automatically donated the equivalent calories burned. And, to make sure things were still kept fun, after the 30-minute workout was a 30-minute social for a post-workout happy hour. After the workout sessions, they posted the videos to the MU Canada YouTube channel, and boosted them with paid media so that people who couldn’t tune in could still watch the content on demand.
By creating the #UltraCalForCal program, the agency developed a system for content creation that combined user participation, influencer content, branded workout videos, and live events all into one highly engaging, cohesive campaign idea. Tying the cause directly to a calorie message incorporated the product RTBs in a personalized and impactful way that wouldn’t have been achievable with traditional advertising.

The program was such a success that MU expanded it across North America, getting healthy, active consumers across North America engaged with the brand in an extremely meaningful way.

The campaign had over 671 million impressions, reaching 42% of their qualified audience and exceeding View Rate benchmarks by 88%, achieving 97% positive online sentiment. The crucial impression the agency had fostered with the target has helped MU increase brand awareness by 3%, increase trial by 4%, increase market share by +0.7pts, and increase Brand Meaning scores by 8pts, making MU the fastest growing beer in the country. Far more importantly, the target’s engagement results in over 770 million calories burned – or 385,000 meals for those in need.

Client: Michelob Ultra
VP, Marketing: Todd Allen
Director of Marketing: Natalie Lucas
Brand Manager: Julie Grant
Brand Manager: Melisa Bayrav
Community Manager: Stella Cho
Trade Marketing Manager: Jessica Sinclair

Creative Agency: FCB Canada
Chief Creative Officers: Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jeff Hilts
Group Creative Director: Jennifer Rossini
Associate Creative Directors: Jordan Gladman, Nimy Leshinski, Henry Park
Senior Art Director: Cody Sabatine
Senior Writer: Joseph Vernuccio
Art Director: Jerry Yang
Copywriter: Jon Dawe
Designer: Barry McLynn
MTL Copywriter: Olivier Laplante
Chief Strategy Officer: Shelley Brown
Strategy Director: Shelagh Hartford
EVP, General Manager: Tracy Little
Group Account Director: Ravi Singh
Account Director: Alex Pente
Account Executive: Chris Flynn
MTL Accounts: Elizabeth Breault, Melisa Piro
Producer: Rachel D’Ercole, Carol Boate
Project Manager: Cori Petit, Natalie Copeland

Production Company: Fuelcontent
Executive Producer: Stef Fabich

Editing House: Fuelcontent
Editor: Vanessa DiStaulo, Kelly Armstrong, Warren Goodwin

Animation House: Fuelcontent
Studio Manager: Rosanne Woodley
Production Artist: Leslie Cuoto, Yana Zinovyeva
Proofreader: Ashleigh Smith

Media Agency: Vizeum
Associate Director: Steve White
Manager: Sam Monteiro

PR Company: Veritas
Senior Account Manager: Madeleine Barker
Senior Consultant: Madeline Geddes
Consultant: Jessica Walcot

Social Media Agency: Social Code
Team Lead: Danielle DeGrandis
Associate Account Manager: Madeleine Glouner
Media Operations Manager: Anthony Castellani

Trade: Mosaic Shopper
Director, Client Services: Mandi Courteau
Account Manager: Aaron Carley

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.