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Event Essay: How AB InBev brought experiential home

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the global brewer behind Stella, Corona and Bud Light, worked with agency MGN Events to create a series of internal experiential events across its brands this summer. Event finds out how and why the company engaged its staff outside of London.

How AB InBev brought experiential home
How AB InBev brought experiential home

AB InBev has been creating different experiences around its brands for some time, be it the partnership with Stella Artois and Wimbledon, or the American theme around Bud Light.

It's something that its audience will pick up on whilst out and about, but for its staff, an office in Woking is perhaps not the best place to completely understand these experiences.

So this summer AB InBev enlisted MGN Events to deliver a series of campaigns putting staff at the heart of the experience by bringing experiential to its office. Employees enjoyed a Wimbledon experience with strawberries and cream on Henman Hill whilst watching the women's semi-final.

For Corona, AB InBev created a panorama of an untouched and clean beach, which aimed to channel the company's ideal scenario for enjoying a Corona beer.

The Bud Light activity featured a branded American-style party, set in a white picket fence suburb with colourful garden lighting, barbecues and ice buckets filled with Bud Light.

Next month, staff will be treated to a gastronomy-themed experience with Leffe.

The collaboration between AB InBev and MGN Events shows that experiential's ability to engage is not limited to consumers, and can be used as a a means of showcasing and promoting brand campaigns to staff working in offices outside of the main headquarters. It also serves as a way of instilling the brand message into the minds of its employees.

Felix Nealer, global business service communications manager for AB InBev, adds: "Seeing that our Woking teams are primarily office based and focused on back-office activities, we wanted to exhibit the great work that our front office sales and marketing teams have been doing to promote our global brands, and help our people feel more connected to our beers."

He says that AB InBev wanted to use the events to "breathe life into a corporate office environment". The bright and engaging displays helped staff discover detailed information on the company heritage, as well as its composition and future aspirations.

Mike Walker, managing director of MGN Events, says that brands are increasingly trialling experiential concepts internally. He said: "We find that the brands we talk to are constantly looking for innovative ways to engage their people and ensure that they understand and buy in to brand concepts."

MGN Events were tasked by AB InBev with producing a range of experiential ideas to help bring four of their brands to life.  Walker explained: "Once the concepts had been signed off, we employed a range of backdrops and props to make the concepts fun. For example as part of the Stella brand activation which took place during Wimbledon week, we used the building’s glass lift in the centre of the atrium. Every time the lift went up, a racquet on the lift door connected with the image of a tennis ball inside the lift. It looked really effective and allowed the activation to come to life."

Walker concurs with Nealer's idea of "bringing a corporate environment to life" using colourful, fun and engaging methods.  MGN Events and AB InBev collaborated closely at the ideas stage to ensure that the internal activations matched the brand's key messaging.

Bringing the big experiential consumer campaigns to staff in offices outside of London is something AB InBev's brands will not only continue to do, but hope to roll out on a wider scale, Nealer explains.

More: Event Essay - Why isn't experiential an industry for life?

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