. The Transom .

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Anheuser-Busch loses the battle to win the war

As the official beer sponsor of the 2006 World Cup, Anheuser-Busch has the right to serve their brands exclusively in every German stadium hosting a game. Yet A-B decided it would be best to let their German rival, Bitburger, share pouring rights in the stadiums. Why would they allow their largest German competitor, which Germans greatly prefer over Budweiser, to compete?

Because A-B sees the forest through the trees.

A-B made the decision that their sponsorship of the World Cup was more about getting their brand in front of the nearly 1 billion people watching the event on television than forcing half a million German fans to drink their beer and create serious negative feelings toward Bud. By giving the local fans a choice, the are extending a most rare olive branch in an era of corporate egos the size of their ad budgets. German fans were happy and relieved when they heard the news. Most said they would at least try the US beer. This is a big win for Budweiser and a very shrewd business decision.

A-B also realizes that the World Cup is a much bigger deal than the World Series or Super Bowl combined. In response, they are spending more on marketing at the World Cup than either US event. Foreign sales of Bud account for roughly 14% of revenues, but it's a growing and highly profitable business. By sponsoring the World Cup, A-B is hoping fans around the world will think of A-B products when they think of soccer (or futbol, as it's known everywhere other than the States.)

Whether or not the millions of dollars A-B is spending on advertising will pay dividends for the company remains to be seen. However, given their situation in Germany, they showed a textbook response to a potentially negative situation. Here's to A-B's courage.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home