Marc Anthony in the Dominican Republic

Marc Anthony photographed by Douglas Friedman on Feb. 8 at Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominica Republic.
Grooming by Jami Harper. Styling by Ben Goglia. Clothing by Kohls.

Photographed by Douglas Friedman

Anyone who’s spent time with Marc Anthony knows a cold Bud Light is his drink of choice; it’s the drink he keeps in his dressing room cooler. So it’s particularly fitting that the brand is sponsoring the U.S. leg of his 15-date, 13-city arena tour, which kicked off Aug. 29 in San Diego and ends Oct. 11 in Boston.

The Anthony partnership is the first major alliance as part of Anheuser-Busch’s new, expanded and amped-up strategy to use music to reach Hispanics at national and regional levels.

On the one hand is the Bud Light-Anthony deal, a big, superstar alliance that reaches a pan-Latin audience, similar in scope to past deals with the likes of Pitbull and Vicente Fernández.

But as important is Anheuser-Busch’s new focus on targeting the entire country via regional acts.

“We are looking to bring artists who speak to the consumers in New York, in Miami, who speak to specific consumers,” says Ryan Garcia, vp of regional multicultural marketing at Anheuser-Busch, a newly created position. “My team is actually a new structure with a renewed focus on the Hispanic consumer and regional marketing. Hispanics represent almost 19% of our Bud Light business and we are looking to spend proportionately,” added García.

The Anthony/Bud Light deal, for example, is a fully integrated alliance negotiated by CMN (Cardenas Marketing Network) -- the Chicago-based marketing and live entertainment firm that also books Anthony’s shows. The deal, which extends through early 2015, includes a Bud Light TV spot featuring scenes from the tour as well as product placement in Anthony’s new music video for new single “Flor Palida” (Pale Flower).  But it also includes regional activations in all tour markets, including meet-and-greets, fly-away promotions marketed in local supermarkets (like Albertson’s and Kroger) and convenience stores (like 7-11) and on-site product placement and consumer experiences.

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“Marc literally drinks Bud Light -- on the plane, backstage, in his house in Dominican Republic. And he’s one of the very few artists who understands what a tour sponsorship really means,” says Elena Sotomayor, CMN’s vp for event marketing and business development. This is key for a partnership that has so many layers.

“We’re not doing a huge national TV spot or campaign, but we’re engaging the consumer and really bringing them into the game,” adds Sotomayor. 

The notion of really engaging consumers with targeted actions at a local level fuels the other part of Anheuser Busch’s strategy.

“We are looking to expand our regional impact from a music perspective,” says García. “We are looking to bring artists who speak to the consumers in New York, who speak to the consumers in Miami -- who speak to specific consumers.”

This month, for example, Anheuser-Busch introduced its new Montejo beer in the Southwest via a sponsorship with iconic norteño band Los Tigres del Norte. That sponsorship includes radio spots featuring Tigres hit “Jefe de Jefes” (Chief of Chiefs) and product placement in a new music video.

“They’re building the campaigns with the music and artists in place from the onset,” says Gustavo Lopez, evp and general manager of Universal Music Latin Entertainment (UMLE), who negotiated the Tigres deal and is working on campaigns with other acts for 2015. “Not just these big one-off artists, but partnerships with a variety of artists and a variety of genres.”

A version of this article first appeared in the Sept. 13 issue of Billboard.