How Dwyane Wade’s Sister Made the Touching Budweiser Spot Happen

ONE37PM talks to the creatives behind the Internet-breaking spot about how it got made

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Courtesy of Alex Slavin

Yesterday, VaynerMedia and Budweiser launched “This Bud’s for 3,” a four-minute spot celebrating Dwyane Wade’s final season in the NBA and its accompanying farewell tour. All season, Wade has made a point of exchanging jerseys with friends and fans within the NBA community, a practice that has led to a lot of cool and unpredictable moments.

The Bud spot took all that positive energy and pushed it even further, courting the community Wade has created outside of basketball to craft a touching and surprising clip featuring five people whose lives Wade has touched.

“Each [jersey] swap in and of itself became a news story,” said Alex Slavin, an account director at Vayner. “With Budweiser, we have a history of telling stories that help connect sports legends to the fans who admire them. We did it with Derek Jeter when the Yankees retired No. 2, Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he took his last lap, and we’re proud to do it again as part of Dwyane Wade’s #OneLastDance.”

The clip went viral, and though it was launched only 48 hours ago, the video has 3.6 million YouTube views and was a trending tropic on Twitter for most of the day Monday, the day of Wade’s final home game in Miami. I wrote to Slavin and his colleague Joe Leotta, the account director, yesterday to learn about the shoot, how it went down and how the biggest assist on the project came from Dwyane’s sister, Tragil Wade. Here are their responses.

ONE37pm: In the social media era, keeping a surprise like this has to be next to impossible. How did you keep it from Dwyane?

Vayner: It took a very coordinated effort to convince him to get involved without spoiling the surprise. We worked closely with Wade’s team, who were in on the surprise, to convince him that we wanted to coordinate some more jersey swaps for him. Dwyane’s sister, Tragil Wade, helped us connect with some of the people that her brother has impacted over the years.

ONE37pm: This group of people involved with the clip have amazing stories that all illustrate different connections to Dwyane. How did you get this group together?

Vayner: Luckily, Wade has done so much good in this world that finding amazing stories was not a difficult task. We also worked closely with Tragil who’s the Director of Wade’s World Foundation (WWF).

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The marker of where Wade stood during the takes. / Courtesy of Alex Slavin

ONE37pm: It’s tough to get people to engage with long social videos, but this piece earns its entire run time. There’s not a moment I’d cut. What were the challenges of editing the piece?

Vayner: The biggest challenge was making sure that there was enough context on each of our fans who swapped with Dwyane, while also having enough movement to keep people engaged throughout. We never set our sights on an ideal length—we said it needed to be as long as it takes to properly tell these stories. That said, culling down a dozen hours of footage to create a 4-minute film, was a labor-intensive task when it came time to edit.

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Behind the scenes. / Courtesy of Alex Slavin

ONE37pm: What was the shoot like? What was Dwyane's expectation when he showed up on set?

Vayner:  We knew we had to shoot in Miami, so we looked at the Heat’s schedule and realized they had two games where there would be a one day break. We had limited time with Wade, so we needed to have everything ready to go so we could maximize every moment.

The shoot day with Dwyane and the fans was intense. With a film like this we just try to orchestrate these emotional encounters and let the authenticity of the moment build organically. We’re just spectators at that point. It wasn’t about us making a film, it was about giving these fans the opportunity to thank Dwyane for all he had done for them, whether he knew it or not, while also giving Dwyane an opportunity to realize the larger impact he’s had off the court.

ONE37pm: Famous pro athletes—especially ones whose sports are in season—are insanely busy during the year, and you have to have something pretty good in order to make it worth their time. So… what was the pitch?

Vayner: We told Dwyane that we wanted to pay tribute to one of the greatest players of his generation, one of the greatest guards in NBA history, and one of the all-time great human beings; you.

ONE37pm and VaynerMedia are both owned by VaynerX.

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