Carlsberg uses World Cup to strike long-term football strategy

Carlsberg is using its World Cup-themed marketing campaign to kick off a long-term push to demonstrate how it can help football fans overcome the sport’s perennial frustrations.

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Carlsberg has used insights from its Premier League sponsorship to shape its upcoming World Cup campaign.

The brewer says the strategy will make it the “beer of choice” for England fans this summer after analysing insights from its first season as the official beer of the Premier League.

The findings shaped the “Fan Squad”, fronted by celebrities Ian Wright, Paddy McGuinness and Jeff Stelling, to tackle the frustrations that marr a football experience for viewers at home, in the pub and in stadiums. A TV advert launches later this year (11 May) to introduce the theme, which Carlsberg plans to stretch beyond the World Cup through to the 2014/15 domestic season and the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.

The advert follows three friends as their futile attempts to watch an England match in the “Eternal Optimist” pub are resolved by the celebrity squad members.

Stelling removes obstructions in the pub to let everyone watch the game with the press of a button, McGuinness ensures the friends do not have to queue for beers by using a conveyor belt, while Wright is able to convince the referee to change his mind and award a penalty. The camera pulls away before the resulting shot is taken to focus on a shooting star, suggesting England actually won the tournament.

Longer versions of the ad will run online with fans encouraged to spot the hidden references littered throughout. Additionally, an online portal will launch at the end of the month (30 March) to act as a hub for any football, campaign, social and future CRM activity.

Off and on-trade promotions will run alongside the portal for fans win tickets to the “Ultimate England Event” where they can visit a version of the “Eternal Optimist” pub near Wembley Stadium during England’s qualifiers for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK, told Marketing Week the campaign, created by Saatchi & Saatchi and The Marketing Store, will see the brand look to give back to fans through “corporate gestures” moving forward. The brewer will also launch its first football campaign over the Christmas period to highlight it as a time many drinkers watch games with their families rather than their friends, Scott adds.

“We know from research that Carlsberg scores more credibly with football fans compared to other beers”, adds Scott.

“That’s because others don’t talk about football at other times of the year and do not have that long-term link to the English game that we have. In the past we’ve run very tournament focused campaigns around football but because we now have the Premier League we’re able to build a long-term platform in a way that stays relevant with fans.”

While Carlsberg has been involved in football for 30 years, it has never had a platform such as the Premier League to drive year-round sales around the sport. Carlsberg’s sales have increased slightly, despite still being in decline, since it penned its three-year deal last August. Value sales in the off-trade fell 4.7 per cent to £537m in the 52 weeks to 2 March 2013 compared to a 0.9 per cent drop to £532m in the 52 weeks to 1 March 2014, according to IRI.

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