American Activation Case Studies

When spectators were barred from the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, P&G owned skincare brand SK-II switched its activation to a campaign helping female-owned Tokyo businesses stay afloat during the pandemic restrictions.

In response to the 2020 US Open being played without any fans due to Covid-19, USGA partner Deloitte built an AR app enabling golf fans to experience all 18 holes in near real-time 3D.

In April 2021, Bud Light collated assets from its US sport and music sponsorship portfolio to fuel a huge $10m ‘stimulus package’ campaign based around giving away 100,000 sports tickets, concert seats and beer.

In April and May 2021, the LA Rams teamed up with sponsor Rocket Mortgage to operate the team’s Draft operation from a bespoke 9,000-sq ft. branded Malibu home.

P&G detergent brand Tide promoted its ‘Tide Hygienic Clean’ product with a Peyton Manning-fronted NFL activation running from September 2020 to February 2021.

In June 2021, as the playoffs entered their second round, the official NHL beer in Canada activated with limited edition batch of beer that had been poured through the Stanley Cup itself.

The soft drinks giant built a six-week immersive experience campaign around The Weeknd’s performance at Super Bowl LIV’s ‘Pepsi Halftime Show’ in February 2021.

Running May through July 2021, Bud Light’s activation played on the tradition of players not shaving while in the playoffs.

In April 2020, the Minnesota Vikings and official beer partner Miller Lite responded to the pandemic by pivoting from a physical to a virtual livestream Draft Party.

In July 2020, Foot Locker’s House of Hoops sub-brand debuted a short form video to welcome back the NBA and build affinity with hoops fans.

Mid-pandemic, in July 2020, Bank of America shifted its MLB activation from awareness to focus on a social good campaign supporting Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 2020, Hyundai Canada introduced a fresh strand in its ongoing ‘Made for Those Who Drive Hockey’ platform when it teamed up with special needs ice hockey club Ottawa Bandits to connect with Canadian families on a more emotional level.

In February 2021, Toyota USA leveraged its Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic rights through a Super Bowl LV campaign starring 13-time Paralympic medallist Jessica Long.

When the Tokyo Olympics were postponed in March 2020, COC retail and apparel partner Hudson’s Bay Company pivoted its 2020 Olympic Collection activation into an integrated ‘Canada Day Games’ campaign.

Mid-2021, Women’s National Basketball Association sponsor CarMax ran a series of ads marking the league’s 25th anniversary – featuring basketball star Sue Bird – that went viral and drove attention around the issue of gender bias in sports.

For the summer 2020 resumption of MLS, Heineken trailed its 0.0 no-alcohol beer by offering US soccer fans a ‘Stadium in a Box’ giveaway on Twitter.

In May 2020, Canadian broadcasters Sportsnet and TVA Sports aired ‘Hockey 24’, a branded documentary by Canadian bank and ice hockey sponsor Scotiabank that continued the trend toward brand-funded features.

In February 2021, the NFL restricted the live stadium attendance for the Super Bowl, so Verizon sought to keep fans connected via a 5G experience mash-up inside the Fortnite battle royale game.

Through the NBA’s delayed 2020 ‘bubble’ season, AB InBev brand Michelob Ultra teamed up with Microsoft to create an AI-driven virtual courtside fan experience.

Running through the 2019-20 season and culminating around Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Microsoft’s multi-channel, 360-degree campaign aimed to show how the Surface tablet helps people be anything but ordinary.

In April 2020, the Bulls teamed up with long-time partner Budweiser for an online branded content series featuring former players talking about the team’s title winning 1990s years.

Leveraging the team’s 2019 new jersey launch, BMO – primary sponsor of the MLS club then known as Montreal Impact – exchanged fans’ old jerseys for new ones and transformed the second-hand ones into nets for youth soccer programs in Quebec.

In May 2020, healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente leveraged Warriors’ star Klay Thompson’s treatment and rehabilitation after an ACL tear into a documentary about health expertise and personal resilience.

In September 2020, Pepsi activated its NFL partnership with a team-focused strand of its league-wide ‘Made for Watching Football’ activation that offered Steelers fans alternative engagement opportunities at a time of limited access to Heinz Field.

In February 2020, beer brand Busch leveraged its sponsorship of Kevin Harvick’s No 4 Stewart-Haas Racing car at the Daytona 500 through a real-time Twitter sweepstakes.

In October 2020, the NFL cancelled the 2021 Pro Bowl under the pressures of the pandemic. Instead, long-time NFL gaming partner EA Sports transformed the Pro Bowl into a star-studded real-time gaming event.

Running through the 2019-20 NHL hockey season, Budweiser promoted its new status as the official NHL beer in Canada through a campaign to recruit a passionate fan as its ‘Chief Hockey Officer’.

To target young families taking their kids to travel baseball tournaments, Days Inn fully-funded a little league team for less well-off children over the 2020 season, and covered it in documentary style worthy of a pro team.

After the pandemic forced the 2020 US Open to take place behind closed doors, USTA partner IBM conceived, created and executed a consumer and business-to-business virtual tournament experience in just three months.

In Q1 2020, UT beer partner Corona leveraged its rights around the Texas Longhorns basketball team with a programme led by a pair of limited edition co-branded sneakers.