SBD/May 31, 2013/Events and Attractions

Intersport Activation Summit: A-B's Kentucky Derby Shift Pays Off

Christanell said the Derby lent itself favorably to Stella Artois' brand image
Speaking Thursday at the '13 Intersport Activation Summit, Anheuser-Busch Dir of Sports & Entertainment Marketing Corey Christanell said that when A-B's sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs came up for renewal in ‘11, the company "decided to shift its brand from Budweiser Select to Stella Artois." It was a leap for the brand, which historically sponsored film and food festivals and avoided sports. But A-B marketers saw a fit for the brand with the Derby that they believed could boost sales and brand affinity. Christanell said, “The beautiful people, the beautiful horse, the beautiful facility -- all of that lends favorably to the brand image of Stella Artois.” Christanell added that the “fit was so right that Stella, which uses the tagline ‘She’s a thing of beauty’ in advertising, was able to sub out the image of a woman serving one of its beers in print ads with the image of a thoroughbred coming down the front stretch.”

MORE THAN BEAUTY: But it took more than a print campaign to boost Stella sales and make the sponsorship pay off in ‘12 and ‘13. A-B marketers added a series of events in ‘13 to boost Stella’s visibility and sales at the event. It partnered with GQ to host a Derby Style party on Friday night with model Chrissy Teigen. It signed on as the presenting sponsor of a Taste of the Derby event in which 18 high-end chefs served some of their best dishes to 1,500 guests. It also partnered with NBC to create a sweepstakes on NBCSports.com that awarded winners a Derby party at their home catered by Stella-endorsed chef Daniel Joly. The party was featured during NBC’s Derby broadcast. Christanell said that collectively, the efforts “helped boost share during the week of the Derby by 1.8%.” It also helped the brand go from serving 42,000 chalices at the track and in market in ‘12 to 65,000 chalices this year.
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