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Budweiser Goal Synced Arena 

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When it comes to events on a national scale – concert tours, new products, and promotions – consumers from Western Canada are often overlooked by big brands. Rarely do Western Canadians get to experience large-scale marketing programmes built just for them. 

Budweiser saw this as an opportunity to act differently, to build a stronger connection to Western Canadians, and improve lagging brand relevance in a region that served as a key stronghold for the brand. Strengthening this metric would also help defend against growing competitive and pricing pressures. 

Western Canadians are a little different from the rest of the country. UM learned that they’re a little more open and ready to cheer, a little less reserved, and unapologetically proud of their regional heroes and accomplishments. So how could it best connect with them? 

The strategy was to champion the region’s #1 local passion – hockey – through a powerful, new media activation that helped Western Canadians celebrate their local teams, and create a never-been-done-before experience to help them celebrate their local teams and harness Western Canadians’ “give ’er!” attitude. 


The agency struck an inspired partnership with the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, providing thousands of excited fans, in-arena, with team-branded, Red Light goal-synced glasses during the final Canucks game of the season and the first Flames game of the playoffs.  

Each game amplified a powerful cultural moment for Western Canadians and their beloved teams. Thousands of glasses were triggered to flash red during the singing of “O Canada.” Then it let the teams do what they do best: score goals and synced the glasses with every home goal scored, triggering a stadium full of red lights. 

In an industry first, it put Western Canadians in the spotlight using Canada’s biggest weekly sports broadcast, Hockey Night in Canada, making this the first time that a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast was opened with a live stunt integration.   

The programme was the most complex live integration in Hockey Night in Canada’s history, and the first media activation of its kind tied to an in-case promotion. Hockey Night in Canada posed a challenge on how to break through the clutter of sponsors but UM was able to create a compelling and highly-ownable experiential media experience with consumers like never before. 


To kick off each game, it first tapped into a powerful cultural moment: the singing of “O Canada”. During the anthem, the lights were dimmed and thousands of glasses were triggered to flash “red” when the lyrics “with glowing hearts” were sung, with fans’ raised arms lighting up the arena in patriotic unity. 

Once the puck dropped it let the home teams electrify the audience with every goal they scored. UM synched each glass to every home goal, turning the arena into a brilliant sea of red by pumped-up fans with Budweisers in-hand. 

It amplified Canada’s first-ever goal-synched experience through the country’s biggest weekly sports broadcast, Hockey Night in Canada. The agency collaborated with show producers to have the show’s host, legendary broadcaster Don Cherry introduce the Red Light activation during Coach’s Corner on live TV, where he raised a Budweiser Red Light Glass to thousands of loyal viewers. 

To maximise the partnership, UM amplified the activation across Rogers’ extensive properties, including branded footage in highlight reels during Sportsnet programming. Lower thirds were activated during broadcast to tell fans that Red Light glasses were also available in-case, driving sales of its red hot team-branded drink wear. 

To build further excitement, UM created the hashtags #LightUpVancouver and #LightUpCalgary, targeting Western Canadian fans and amplifying buzz through Sportsnet’s Facebook and Twitter channels. It also fuelled passions through local radio celebrities in Calgary, including popular radio host Dean Molberg on the Fan 960, who let fans know the glasses were coming to their city next. 


The Budweiser Goal-Synced Arena activation was a huge hit, boosting brand relevance by an incredible 10%. It drove the highest ever month-over-month increase in Budweisers’ “hockey association” score, a critical sales driver. 

Video completion rates on social more than doubled Budweiser benchmarks. Organic social mentions related to the Canucks were 49% higher on Twitter and 67% higher on Instagram vs. a typical regular season game. 

Hashtags #LightUpVancouver and #LightUpCalgary garnered an outstanding 30 million organic impressions, far exceeding expectations and setting a new regional benchmark for success, as well as receiving extensive media and PR coverage. 

Ultimately, this deftly executed experiential event activation energised Western Canadian fans, gave them Canada’s first-ever goal-synced arena experience, and deepened their connection to Budweiser – a true hat-trick of success. 

**(Budweiser is not an official sponsor of the NHL™ or any other hockey league, the World Cup of Hockey, or any participating hockey federations. This campaign is not licensed by, sponsored by, or otherwise associated with the National Hockey League™, any other hockey league, or any of their respective member teams.)** 

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Brand Owner:
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Drinks (alcoholic)
April - April 2017
Media Channel:
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