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Peyton Manning Gives Bud Light a Real-Time Content Marketing Moment in the Sun

Who knew Peyton Manning was a Bud Light drinker? I didn’t see that one coming. Since he’s currently a resident of Colorado, I figured him a craft brew drinker, myself. But minutes after his Denver Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers to advance to the AFC Championship, where they’ll meet their longtime nemesis, the New England Patriots, the 37-year-old Manning lobbed Anheuser-Busch a huge softball when asked about his health.

“What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth,” he said to the throng of media in the room, most of whom erupted in laughter.

You might say Manning’s words were a real-time content marketing gift to Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, which is already the second most popular beer in the world. (It’s No. 1 in the U.S. market.)

Opportunities Can Spring from Unlikely Sources

Before the words had barely left Manning’s lips, Anheuser-Busch was all over the “news.” A short time later, the Bud Light Twitter page featured a Vine video of the quarterback’s comments with a title that read “Proud to Be Peyton’s Refreshment Coordinator.”

As you can see the retweets have been nonstop.

A well-executed though not original idea.

Being Ready is the Essential Element to Responding in Real-Time

Manning, popular on the field for his record-setting touchdowns, his obstinate perfectionism and his championship pedigree, is no stranger to marketing. His success, his boy-next-door good looks and his awe-shucks style have paved the way for him to make a king’s ransom as a shill for everything from MasterCard to DirecTV to Papa John’s pizza.

Whether you view Manning’s comments as planned or natural, one thing is clear: Bud Light is the latest company to deftly handle a real-time content marketing opportunity.

In early January Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sent out the following tweet after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.

Anyone familiar with marijuana use has heard of how often the “munchies” ensues, which makes the tweet about as poignant as it was funny.

But the standard-bearer for such real-time content marketing is how Oreo handled the Super Bowl blackout in 2013.

Real-Time Likely Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

Most companies look at these examples and likely think one of two things:

  1. I don’t have the personnel or the budget to make such occurrences work for my business.
  2. Nothing so sexy happens in my boring vertical.

To both I say, wrong and wrong.

Taking advantages of real-time opportunities is not about having unlimited staff ready around the clock to immediately jump online and share information via social media. It’s also not about having a ginormous budget enabling you to be in all places as all times.

As proof, look at the timestamp on the Bud Light tweet: the response was anything but immediate. Even in the case of Oreo, the result had very little to do with budget or personnel and everything to do with planning, readiness and preparation, all of which are points frequently made by prominent search and social expert Rob Garner.

“Being real-time does not mean that a business must take a harried approach to real-time content marketing, or be sleep-deprived, in order to be effective,” says Garner, author of Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing. “It instead requires a lot of planning, having the right people in the organization, knowing audience language, and knowing when and where to engage.”

Taking advantage of real-time opportunities as they present themselves is really about being prepared, even before the occurrences fully present themselves, and then fearlessly pouncing on the chance to grab attention for your company at a time when a large number of eyes are fixed on your space.

In a follow-up blog I’ll highlight how opportunities such as those above are more plentiful than most believe, even for small and midsize businesses. You’ll also learn how it easy it is for your business to find and take advantage of such occurrences.