2021 Winner

AB InBev/Bud Light



GoldContent Strategy

Bud Light lacked meaning and relevance with their largest growth target (Females 19-26) and was typically seen as a “Bro Beer” that people would bring to a party. Based on research with Gen Z, their generation feels an inherent responsibility to make the world a better place and, while cynical of traditional advertising, they gravitate towards brands that are aligned with their values. The challenge for Bud Light was to find a way play a more purposeful role tackling the social issues this younger female drinker cared about and create meaning through their #1 passion point: music.

Through research, they unearthed a profound gender imbalance in the music space. In 2019, only five of the top 100 DJs were women and the 10 highest paid DJs were all men. No woman has ever made the list. These shocking statistics were not being discussed by anyone, let alone brands.

Bud Light Canada, a brand focused on inclusivity, recognized the challenges female artists encountered and felt an obligation to take action. The brand concepted, produced and released “Underplayed”, a feature-length documentary film that followed the top female DJs in the world bringing much needed attention to the often ignored subject of gender inequality in the music industry.

Bud Light invested in shining a light on the issue of gender inequality in the music industry through long format storytelling by creating a feature-length documentary film. With this strategy, they would be able to entertain and educate their consumers vs interrupt them, while driving awareness for the inequities rampant in the industry. The documentary guided viewers through the uncomfortable systemic and historical ways women have been pushed out of the industry, their contributions shortchanged and early pioneers forgotten.

The 88-minute long film presents an energetic portrait of an industry in desperate need of a change and takes an all encompassing look at the exclusion of women DJs from the electronic music scene, documenting the first hand experiences of producers and artists like REZZ, Alison Wonderland, award winning sister duo Nervo, as well as a host of other incredible talent. The film became the heartbeat of a 360 campaign that would drive deep meaning and purpose for the brand.

Bud Light’s feature length documentary “Underplayed” was accepted into and embraced by some of the most prestigious and culture-driving film festivals in the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it made its global debut. The film was then acquired and distributed globally by major streaming platforms (Apple, Amazon Prime, Crave) and launched on International Women’s Day.

“Underplayed” has inspired artists and industry leaders to champion gender equality in the music industry and beyond, which will lead to a more diverse pool of role models for future generations. The documentary received the most earned coverage of any initiative Bud Light has endeavoured with success both in Canada and around the world: Globally Underplayed has received over 300M earned media impressions; the release of the film had over 400 media hits with 200 feature stories including leading arts and entertainment publications like Rollingstone, Variety and the Washington Post; “Underplayed” sparked an important conversation around gender disparity in music on social media, with over 16.2M impressions culminating from 131 pieces of social content; the trailers for “Underplayed” promoted on Youtube consistently beat VTR benchmarks by +15% and led to a 33% increase in Bud Light searches; and “Underplayed” was critically acclaimed, receiving a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and was honored with glowing reviews by some of the top documentary film critics in the world.

Agency: Anomaly
Agency Network: Anomaly Inc.
Holding Company: MDC Partners Inc.
PR Agency: Veritas Communications
Media Agency: Vizeum Canada
Film Sales + Distribution: LevelFILM INC

Client Credits
Company: AB InBev/Labatt Breweries of Canada
Bud Light Canada
Todd Allen: VP of Marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada
Natalie Lucas; Director of Marketing for Bud Light Canada
Kevin De Gruijter: Senior Brand Manager for Bud Light
Becky Lindsay, Director of Marketing for Bud Light Canada
Andrew Oosterhuis, VP of Marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada
Mike D’Agostini, Sr. Director – Budweiser & Bud Light.

Agency Credits
Agency: Anomaly Toronto
Executive Creative Director/Partner: Pete Breton & Dave Douglass
Creative Director & Writer: Neil Blewett
CEO & Partner: Franke Rodriguez
President, Managing Director & Partner: Candace Borland
Group Business Head: Matt Holton
Business Director: Dori Adams
Account Supervisor: Kayla Christenson
Account Executive: Jordy Francescangeli
Group Strategy Director: Paul Lipson
Director of Communications Strategy: Alex Avendaño
Head of Production: Janice Bisson
Agency Producers: Nicole Poon, Annya Williams, Frances Smith
Lead Designer: Melissa Zeta
Head of Design: Shawn Lambino

Production Credits
Director/Writer: Stacey Lee
Producer: William Crouse
DOP: Zoe Simone Yi
Executive Producer: Bud Light Canada
Executive Producer: Julien Christian Lutz
Executive Producer: Taj Critchlow
Editor/Writer: Georgia Dodson
Story Editor: Joe Peeler
Finishing Editor: Anthony Mathile
Music Composer: Kate Simko
Head of Production: Adam Palmer
Production Coordinator: Dean Rosen
Production Coordinator: Charlotte Travers
Production House: Fela
Editing House: Whitehouse Post

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