SBD/Issue 175/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Bud's South Africa World Cup Activation Pales Compared To Miller

Budweiser "may dominate the U.S. market, but it has the lightest of footprints" in South Africa, where the FIFA World Cup will begin in less than three weeks, meaning the brand "has little choice but to cede the local field to its rivals," according to Robb Stewart of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Budweiser has been the "official beer sponsor of the World Cup since 1986," and A-B InBev did not say how much it spends sponsoring the tournament. The brewer is planning several Budweiser promotions "tied to the World Cup, including an online reality show, 'Bud House,' in which a fan from each of the 32 qualifying countries will be brought to Cape Town to live together under one roof for as long as their home countries remain in the tournament." Budweiser also "will run ads to encourage soccer fans to vote online to pick the 'man of the match' after each game." But while Budweiser's official sponsorship deal "gives it exclusive sales rights at the nine stadiums" where World Cup matches will be played, the brand "has given up its right to sell in the 10 fan parks to be erected in host cities." A-B InBev officials said that the company "has its eyes on a bigger prize." The brewer's strategy for Budweiser is to "concentrate on courting the many millions of fans who will be watching the World Cup games on television in markets where Budweiser sells in volume." A-B InBev Global Dir of Sports & Entertainment Eelco van der Noll: "While South Africa is certainly important for beer sales, the focus is more on the global aspect of the World Cup."

ESPN World Cup Posters Will
Be Displayed Around Chicago

COMPETITIVE EDGE: Stewart reports while A-B InBev "thinks globally," its biggest competitor, SABMiller, is "acting locally" in South Africa. SABMiller "has long held a near-stranglehold on the South African market," and when the World Cup kicks off June 11, the brewer "will have refrigerated vans on standby at key locations around the country to keep bars and restaurants from running dry." SABMiller also is "making sure tavern owners are well stocked with its brands, particularly its flagship Castle Lager," which sponsors the South African team. SABMiller Marketing Manager for South Africa Alastair Hewitt said that the brewer is "expected to sell the equivalent of 30 million additional regular-size bottles of its beers during the tournament, or 6% more than its usual sales for the period" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24).

CHANNEL GUIDE: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare reports ESPN and Wieden & Kennedy have "commissioned 33 original posters" promoting the network's World Cup coverage under the theme, "One Game Changes Everything." Beginning this week, a "number of these posters will be on display around Chicago in the form of commuter rail cards and displays on building walls and bus shelters." The 33 posters, created by South Africa-based artists collective AM I Studios, include "one for each participating country and one overarching World Cup-themed execution" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/24).

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