Last year, Anheuser-Busch InBev turned Crested Butte, Colorado into Whatever, USA for a weekend to promote its Bud Light brand of beer.
Approximately 1,000 contest winners descended on the mountain town to party and, of course, drink beer. While they were enjoying the festivities, Bud Light used the event to produce content for a variety of ad campaigns.
Apparently, the Whatever, USA concept was successful enough that Bud Light is recreating Whatever, USA in May in a location yet to be announced and in an effort to find this year’s batch of “down for whatever” party-goers, Bud Light has partnered with Tinder, a popular dating app.
Ads for Bud Light and Whatever, USA will appear directly in the Tinder app for users over the age of 21.
Those users who swipe right – the gesture normally used to indicate interest in a potential mate – a video will play inviting the user to enter to win a trip to Whatever, USA through a Whatever, USA microsite Bud Light has created.
The spots, which represent Tinder’s first foray into native video ads, can be stopped, rewound and replayed by users.
An unconventional match
Tinder and Bud Light might seem like an odd couple, but according to Hugh Cullman, director of marketing for Bud Light, there’s a natural fit between the two for the Whatever, USA campaign.
As he explained to AdWeek:
There’s a lot of synergies between the Tinder audience and the audience we’re looking for.
Cullman was quick to point out that Bud Light’s Tinder campaign was crafted over a six month period and the content, namely the native video ads, were created specifically for Tinder. “
We haven’t taken our traditional TV commercials and just slapped them on Tinder,” Cullman stated. “We know that would be a poor experience. [We wanted to] talk to that audience in the way that they are talking to other people. TV [spots] work great for TV, but we knew they would not be a good experience for Tinder.”
While the Whatever, USA campaign isn’t Tinder’s first deal with a brand, Tinder sees it as a proving ground for similarly structured campaigns that are deeply integrated into the Tinder experience.
“We are serious as a company about finding a way for brands to communicate with our users in a very accretive way. We don’t want to disrupt the users’ experience, and we’re committed to that,” Tinder president Sean Rad stated. But users don’t have to worry about Tinder matching them with too many ads. “Depending on how this goes, users might see more of this, but it’s going to be a long time until this is a consistent part of your experience.”