This Bud’s for Dwayne Wade


The Chicago native
and former Bull
gets a Hall of Fame
style sendoff
from Budweiser,
VaynerMedia and
Cutters NY

Okay, Dwayne Wade and his Miami Heat soundly beat my Sixers the other night in his last home game.

I suppose for a legend such as Wade (who also played for my Chicago Bulls), it was a fitting end. Especially when you consider the day also served as the debut of a touching, emotionally-packed spot from Budweiser that pays tribute to #3.

A bit of background. As a part of his final year, the future Hall of Famer, has been swapping jerseys with other players after games as a sign of respect, a move that’s extremely popular in soccer.

No stranger to emotional sendoffs to sports stars, and Budweiser calls this one, “This Bud’s for 3” in reference to Wade’s jersey number. This tear-jerking, 4-minute spot from agency VaynerMedia, features Wade alone in the American Airlines Arena. He says to camera that he has no idea what is coming.

The five people who greet Wade with an article of clothing are people who pack an emotional wallop.

Who are they? One is the sister of a victim lost in the Parkland shooting. Joaquin Oliver’s favorite player was Wade, and the NBA superstar wrote the boy’s name on his shoes for a game to honor his memory. Next, we meet a woman whose house burned down before Christmas. Wade took them on a shopping spree.

A man whose life was going down a dark path steps into the arena. He tells Wade how his words inspired him to change everything. He’s followed by a young woman who desperately wanted to go to college, but couldn’t afford it. Until Wade’s organization gave her a full-tuition scholarship.

Finally, Wade’s own mother, Jolinda Wade — who struggled with addiction, went to prison, and turned her life around through the help of her son. They each bring Wade a meaningful garment to give to him. Watch the spot, directed by Vayner Productions’ Ritesh Gupta:

ALSO READ: Mazda campaign urges drivers to “feel alive”

Sorry, I need to recover for a second as this spot just demolished my emotions.

“We’re honored to raise a Bud to Dwyane Wade to celebrate his legendary NBA career,” says Monica Rustgi, Budweiser marketing vp, in a statement published in Adweek. “We take pride in telling the stories that connect sports legends to their fans. While Dwyane Wade is one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball, we wanted to showcase his even-greater impact and legacy off the court.”

“Throughout the year, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my basketball career and thank so many teammates, coaches and mentors who have impacted me on the court,” Wade added in a statement. “Thanks to Budweiser for reminding me that my connection to people is bigger than basketball. While my basketball career is coming to a close in the coming days, my relationship with my fans will only continue to grow.”

Wade was a special player and this is a special spot. It’s why it’s our “Reel Ad of the Week.”

A 90-second version will air on regional network Fox Sports Sun this week.

Client: Budweiser
   Group Vice President, Core & Value: Ricardo Marques
   Vice President, Marketing: Monica Rustgi
   Senior Brand Director: Madison Pietrowski
   Director, Budweiser Sports: Matt Davis
   Director, Marketing Communications: Jenna Knoll
   Brand Manager: Hayley Kahn

Agency: VaynerMedia, New York
   Chief Creative Officer: Steve Babcock
   Group Creative Director: Adam Lock
   Creative Director: Todd Bradley
   Associate Creative Director: Harrison Barron
   Art Director: Rafael Sosa
   EVP: Nick Miaritis
   VP, Group Account Director: Joe Leotta
   Account Director: Alex Slavin
   Account Executive: Donald Spampinato
   Project Manager: Katherine Penland
   Agency Executive Producer: Cassandra Reuter
   Agency Producer: Chloe Heller

Production: VaynerProductions
   Chief Production Officer: Aaron Kovan
   Director: Ritesh Gupta
   Director of Photography: Jeff Kim
   Executive Producer: Matt Hollis

Editorial: Cutters Studios, New York
   Editor: Steve Bell
   Assistant Editor: Austin Rauterkus
   Executive Producer: Elizabeth Krajewski
   Senior Producer: Stephanie Rose

Audio: Cutters Studios, New York
   Hunter Berk

Color: The Mill
   Colorist: Fergus MCcall

Music: JSM Music

Source: Adweek