Bud Light Platinum Goes EDM: Taps Zedd For Grammy Campaign, Original Song 'Find You' (Exclusive)

One year after hiring Justin Timberlake as its celebrity creative director, Bud Light Platinum is turning to EDM and a new TV commercial featuring Zedd that will kick off this weekend during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, airing Sunday Jan. 26.
 

The campaign is dubbed “Turn Up Your Night,” and will be led by the original song “Find You” by Zedd featuring Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant. The track will debut in a 15-second spot during the Grammys, and features the campaign’s slogan in its lyrics as a refrain during the bridge (“open up your sky / turn up your night / to the sweet of life / turn up your night,” Koma sings.) An official single is expected to be available for commercial release. Translation, which helped conceive the Timberlake campaign, will once again handle creative duties.
 
“Bud Light Platinum is looking forward to connecting with the largest music movement of millennials, EDM, and sharing the same musical passion points as its drinkers,” says Rob McCarthy, vice president of Bud Light Brands at Anheuser-Busch. “Unveiling ‘Turn Up Your Night’ alongside Zedd, one of the most exciting artists in music, will solidify the brand’s investment in the EDM genre along with a  number of different music initiatives we have throughout the year.”
 
In an interview with Billboard, Zedd says the collaboration with Bud Light Platinum was initially planned “on a small scale, but then we realized how much we could achieve together that we couldn't do on our own. We both are creatively on the same page and that makes collaborating a lot of fun and gives you the extra hands you normally don't have.”
 
The 24-year-old also called the campaign “natural and organic,” which includes recruiting his pals Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant for co-writing and vocal duties. “Whenever I need help on a top-line they are my go-to people,” he says. “Once Miriam and Matt sang their parts on ‘Find You,’ it was impossible to fake that emotion, which is the reason I kept both on the song.” But the grueling demands of the road – Zedd is still reeling from a 2013 tour schedule that brought him through multiple legs in the U.S. as well as stops in Europe, Mexico, Asia, Canada and the Phillippines, among other places – appear to have prolonged the song’s process. “From the first to the last note, ‘Find You’ took almost half a year to finish,” Zedd says.
 
As part of the new partnership, Zedd will perform at Universal Music Group’s Grammy weekend showcase on Saturday, Jan. 25, sponsored by Bud Light Platinum. The brand will also reveal plans for a VIP music program, offering influencers ranging from DJs to traditional and non-traditional media professionals VIP access to all festivals Bud Light Platinum aligns with in the coming months.
 
Making the switch from Timberlake to electronic dance music is as much of a business decision for Bud Light Platinum as it is a cultural one, though the brand has previously partnered with EDM festival Sensation (in which S.F.X. has a majority stake) and featured Avicii’s “Levels” in a Super Bowl commercial since launching in 2012. Platinum saw sales growth stall under the Timberlake campaign, with market share in retail sales dropping from 1.21% in May 2013 to 1.09% in early November, according to SymphonyIRI. A-B confirmed the Timberlake campaign had concluded once the singer announced the sale of his 901 tequila to Beam Global earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal.
 
It also gives the fledgling beer an opportunity to make a splash in a genre that’s about to get very crowded with sponsor activity. Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev recently announced a global sponsorship deal with EDM promoter S.F.X. Entertainment, expected to include portfolio brands like Corona, and rival Heineken recently kicked off a responsibility campaign “Dance More, Drink Slow” led by dance act Armin Van Buuren. Motorola also has a global festival sponsorship deal with Live Nation, the Moto X Kandi Shop, while artists like Calvin Harris (Sol Republic, Pepsi Max), Tiesto (Guess, HP, Armani Exchange) and Avicii (Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply, Coca-Cola’s Burn energy drink) have signed individual endorsement deals in recent years.
 
As for future plans with Zedd, the DJ-producer says he has “brainstormed and thought of many unique creative ways of working” with Bud Light Platinum in the coming months. And though he’s certainly seen his fair share of brand activations on the festival circuit, Zedd doesn’t claim to be an expert when it comes to marketing to the EDM crowd. “What has always worked for me was to only do things that feel natural and organic to me,” he says. “If something feels forced, it’s most likely not right for you.”

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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