Why Budweiser teamed up with live music app Dice to reach UK college kids

Advertising booze to students may sound like a cushy job, but it’s a competitive market, and young people can be fickle. To get their attention, Budweiser put on a series of free concerts.

As part of the Budweiser Live Project, the Anheuser Busch brand showcased live acts around nine different cities in October, including the Wombats in Glasgow and Twin Atlantic in Cardiff. To handle the marketing and get tickets out, it used ticketing and gig app, Dice.

The U.K. startup is tight-lipped about download numbers; it’s currently still investment-led receiving £2.3 million ($3.2 million) since launch. But it has just been named the first live music brand to be a curator for Apple Music. For Budweiser, in addition to signing up over 13,000 people to its events over the two weeks, a further 5,500 people were added to the brand’s list for future events through Dice’s mobile platform.

“The entire purpose was having a seamless ticketing experience,” said Isabelle Maratier, Budweiser marketing manager, who conceded there were concerns about keeping students interested after they had downloaded the app.

Using Spotify video ads, it targeted non-premium listeners by age and location with video content before the shows. “Students in Birmingham who listen to Twin Atlantic could see ad video content saying when they were playing, and could click through to download the Dice app,” said Maratier.

Attendees to free events have a tendency to flake, so once people had signed up to the gig they had to be kept interested. It kept up the back and forth through push notifications.

“It was important to get the balance right between communicating and spamming,” said Dice music editor and former Radio 1 DJ Jen Long. “We made sure it was capped at one or two a day and that it was crucial information, like door-opening times, safety information, numbers for taxis.” Post-event, it sent messages with behind-the-scenes footage from the shows. “We wanted to tell the story around it and show that we hadn’t lost them forever,” Long added.

Dice keeps Bud fans updated

According to the company’s internal analytics from KissMetrics, on average over the two-week period, it was getting 72 percent open rates in its notifications, which led to the events page in the Dice app.

According to Budweiser, one of Dice’s most useful features is its waiting list when gigs hit full capacity. “In Glasgow, just before the event started the venue said it would open up an extra room” said Long. “This meant another 200 people could attend, so we sent out a push message to everyone on the waiting list.”

“Students were literally running down the streets.” said Maratier, “We couldn’t have done that with another ticketing partner.”