Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Anheuser-Busch Inbev ups marketing for World Cup

Bloomberg

The world’s largest brewer is ramping up its spending on marketing initiatives ahead of the FIFA World Cup this summer, as such promotions have already helped buoy demand in Colombia and Peru.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s first-quarter earnings growth of 6.6 percent surpassed analyst estimates and CEO Carlos Brito said he is “confident” that growth will accelerate, especially in the second half of this year.

Budweiser’s campaign for the World Cup, the most-watched sporting event globally, began this week. The initiative comes as Anheuser-Busch InBev works to drive more revenue from athletic tournaments and social occasions after the past decade’s influx of smaller brands weaned drinkers off its mass-market brews.

To address that challenge, the Leuven, Belgium-based company is investing US$2 billion in promoting its brands and improving their supply chains in the US.

In Colombia, the Aguila brand increased sales more than 50 percent in the first quarter, helped by ads that fueled nostalgia for the last time the country played in the World Cup.

Cristal performed well in Peru, as the brand is supporting the national team.

This year’s World Cup is to be held in Russia, a market dominated by Carlsberg A/S.

The Danish brewer last week said the Russian market shrank by about 5 percent in the first quarter, hurt by restrictions on bottling and the threat of international sanctions on the country’s economy.

Anheuser-Busch InBev said it plans World Cup promotions for Budweiser in Argentina and in Nigeria, where it started selling the brand in March.

One of the first ads in the new campaign involves hundreds of drones flying beer bottles from St Louis, Missouri, Budweiser’s home, down the shores of Rio de Janeiro, through the jungles of Latin America and over snowy mountain ridges. They drop off the beverages in Shanghai’s city center, in British pubs and finally at a Moscow soccer stadium.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s shares have lost about one-quarter of their value since the multinational acquired SABMiller PLC in 2016 in the beverage industry’s largest-ever deal.

The company said it had cost savings of US$160 million related to the SABMiller purchase in the first quarter.

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