ABInBev’s Michelob Ultra is celebrating its brand partnership with Formula 1 team Williams Racing with a “Lap of Legends” event using new technology to bring past champions back to the track.
Through technology including artificial intelligence and augmented reality, “Lap of Legends” pits one current driver against virtual representations of seven Williams Racing champions from the past in a 16-lap race.
Michelob Ultra worked with Williams Racing to analyze thousands of hours of racing footage, as well as historical data, in an effort to recreate the speed, racing style, technique and driving strategy of different Formula 1 greats across generations and their original cars. Drivers featured include Mario Andretti, Jenson Button, and Jacques Villeneuve.
The resulting “Lap of Legends’ one-hour TV special will debut in spring, 2024 on AMC, BBC America, and The Roku Channel in the U.S. and will be distributed across 28 countries globally. Michelob Ultra teased the event – billed as “the first-ever real vs. virtual race” – with a debut trailer released ahead of the F1’s U.S. season-closing Las Vegas Grand Prix race on November 19.
"We're once again using technology in service of great storytelling,” Michelob Ultra VIce President of Marketing Ricardo Marques said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Michelob Ultra teamed up with Instacart for a campaign running during the NFL playoffs starring women’s soccer star Alex Morgan and former NFL quarterback Tony Romo which marked the first shoppable ad from Anheuser-Busch. Sports and fitness have long been a central marketing focus the low-calorie beer brand, of course. In recent years it has also sought to find creative ways to deploy technology as well, with a 2019 Michelob Ultra Pure Gold campaign featuring an ad-blocker replacing ads with nature photographs one earlier example.