Carlsberg is attempting to change the stereotypical image of mass-market lager in the UK, often associated with yob culture and binge drinking, with the sponsorship of an art exhibition later this year at the Royal Academy of Arts.
The exhibition, which will include 19th-century French artists such as Gaugin and Rodin, will be a first for the lager brand, which is an official partner of UEFA’s Euro 2004 tournament.
A spokeswoman for Carlsberg says: “The sponsorship is all about shifting perceptions about lager. It will mean that consumers will look at the brand differently, because Carlsberg is more than just football and drinking.” She adds, however, that the brand will continue with all its sports marketing activities.
The move follows the Government’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy report launched in March, which carries a thinly veiled threat of government regulation if the drinks industry fails to act voluntarily against using inappropriate imagery linking sports to alcohol.
The art exhibition will run from September 18 to December 10.
Carlsberg unveiled a £10m marketing campaign around its sponsorship of Euro 2004 football tournament earlier this year. The strapline “Your country needs you” is running on promotional packaging featuring England players.
Carlsberg UK changed its name from Carlsberg-Tetley in March, following its takeover of Holsten Pils and to bring it in line with its parent company, Carlsberg Breweries in Denmark.