When Opportunity Presents Itself Like a Baseball to the Chest, Hold Your Beers and Act Fast

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Every once in a while, the advertising gods smile upon a brand. The stars and planets line up, and a million-dollar opportunity literally falls from the heavens. Last Sunday night, Yordan Alvarez hit a home run for the Houston Astros—and for Bud Light.

For those who missed it, when the ball traveled over the outfield wall at the top of the second inning, it headed directly toward fan Jeff Adams, who was holding two beers in both hands, in the stands. If you’re a baseball fan, you dream of catching a home run ball, let alone at the World Series. But not Adams. Adams chose differently, taking a direct hit to the chest rather than spilling a drop of either beer.

This unfolded on live TV in front of millions of people around the world, and it quickly went viral. I can only imagine what the folks at Bud Light must have been thinking as they saw it unfold. Perhaps “What just happened?” Or maybe, “We must be dreaming.” But most likely someone said, “We just won the PR mega-lottery!”

Just as Jeff was presented with a choice to catch the ball or not, so was Bud Light. And their agency was given the choice of whether to capitalize on or squander a fortuitous PR opportunity. And thankfully for all of us ad nerds who worship great ideas, Bud Light served up a brilliant idea on a silver platter: responding on Twitter and giving followers a mission to find Adams.

This is how they did it, and how we as marketers can pinpoint these moments and act on them:

Act fast

These brilliant executions can only happen if you move quickly. Bud Light acted fast and turned a real life moment into an advertising and PR success story overnight. It is likely because the brand created a culture long before Game Day where ideas are embraced, fostered and appreciated.

Keeping your creative teams on alert during big cultural moments—whether it’s the World Series, Superbowl or the Oscars—will benefit your brand. You don’t know when a moment worth capitalizing on might pop up.

Get scrappy

Sometimes the best ideas are not big budget items. Simple ideas work extremely well if they are smart. Brands like Bud Light don’t say no to potential executions because they don’t have a production budget. In this instance, by using existing footage combined with a hilarious “Not all heroes wear capes,” they created a simple 15-second commercial.

Build on the moment

To create this work, Bud Light stayed authentic and true to the opportunity by building upon the real-life event. If you truly have something worth promoting, you won’t need to do much besides simply shining a spotlight on it. They extended the story by bringing Jeff Adams to the next game and positioning him in the outfield seats decked out as an official Bud Light ambassador, which was broadcast live during the game.

When it came to capitalizing on this World Series opportunity, Bud Light didn’t disappoint. They built on the humor and irony of the situation that proved the lengths people will go for an ice-cold Bud Light, and in the process, successfully shined the light back on themselves, forever becoming part of the story. That’s a home run in my book.

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