SBD/Issue 124/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Anheuser-Busch To End Sponsorship Of NHRA, Race Team After '09

A-B Wants To Use Sponsorship Dollars To
Attract Younger Consumers
Anheuser-Busch will end its sponsorship as the official beer of the NHRA after the ‘09 season. The company also is ending its 30-year relationship with Kenny Bernstein Racing’s NHRA team. The Budweiser-Bernstein relationship is the longest running in motorsports history, eclipsing STP’s 28-year NASCAR sponsorship of Richard Petty. KBR officials said that the team aims to continue racing if new sponsorship is secured for ‘10 (A-B). In St. Louis, Jeremiah McWilliams noted although the NHRA deals "helped A-B reach sports loyalists, the company is looking for new ways to connect Budweiser with new, young adult consumers." The target consumers are "dubbed 'experimenters,'" and are "aged roughly 21-27 who don't typically drink Budweiser but fiddle around with a wide variety of beers." A-B "plans to redirect its marketing resources to go after those potential Budweiser drinkers." The money "freed up by ending the Hot Rod deals ... could go toward digital marketing or more boots-on-the-ground work, such as sampling efforts." A-B VP/Media, Sponsorship & Activation Dan McHugh: "The one thing we're doing from a planning standpoint is to create the flexibility to go out there in 2010 and see where we should use these resources." But McHugh did add that the company "will continue to be 'a major sports player overall,' with sponsorship deals including NASCAR" (, 3/16).

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