Brewers and pubs fuel World Cup fever to lure drinkers

Budweiser, Heineken, Halewood and Fuller’s are among several brewers ramping up digital activity in the on-trade around the World Cup to try and turn the increased footfall into pubs and clubs into real-time marketing opportunities to lift sales.

Brewers are hoping to benefit from potential sales spikes around the late kick off times for World Cup matches.

The brewers have joined forces with pub companies nationwide to get the most out of what alcohol on-trade expert CGA Strategy predict will be a 35 per cent year-on-year hike in beer sales.

Televised football continues to be one of the strongest assets for pubs to drive footfall with several British Beer and Pub Association members gearing up for the World Cup for months. And with extra hours secured for England’s late matches, companies are putting themselves in a position to score market share.

Budweiser is using its status as the official beer of the tournament to convince drinkers it is the only beer to drink while watching a match. Various outlets across the UK, including Riley’s Sports Bar in Haymarket, will be taking part in Budweiser’s “Hero Bar” campaign whereby they will receive support in terms of Budweiser ambassadors, social media campaigns, staff training and VIP areas.

The brewer is also introducing “SMART TV+” into venues to push messages across the screens such as drinks offers, competitions around matches. Drinkers will be urged to discuss the game through the @BudweiserUK Twitter feed with the brand looking to highlight its “Rise As One” sponsorship campaign as well as recruit social media followers. AB InBev has also dialled down activity for its other brands such as Stella Artois during the tournament in a bid to give its American beer maximum exposure.

Heineken is hoping efforts to promote fast-growing segments such as World Ciders, Premium Flavoured Spirit Beers and lower strength variants boost visibility for its brands amid all the on-trade activity from more mainstream beers. It is working with outlets across the UK to give brands such as Old Mout cider, Foster’s Radler 2% and Strongbow Citrus Edge greater exposure in pubs and clubs through its “Our Shout” on-trade marketing programme. The service creates a tailored marketing programme for outlets, offering branded consumer Wi-Fi, social media and local advertising, as well as bespoke POS.

Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director at Heineken UK, says: “In today’s word of fast-moving technology and social media, it’s hard for independent pubs to work out the best marketing strategy. We’re trying to help them market themselves better as well as use our own social media channels to drive people to specific outlets.”

Halewood is using the opportunity to generate insights from a digital poster campaign that serves branded content and special offers to drinkers in real-time. The company’s Crabbie’s ginger beer brand is rolling out digital screen technology from D-Media to outlets nationwide after seeing a ‘considerable sales increases” from previous tests during the 2014 Grand National. The drinks maker hopes the real-time on-trade push can give its modest media outlay greater cut-through against heavyweight campaigns from bigger brewers.

Elsewhere, Fuller’s is pushing its seasonal “Two Halves” golden ale. Batemans in Lincolnshire has England Expects, which comes with a three-way pump clip, while North West brewer JW Lees has its “Brazilian Bitter”, and Caledonian Brewery, has “Road to Rio”, a golden ale.

Beer sales are expected to top the last World Cup, according to CGA Strategy, when managed pubs sold an average of 1,058 extra pints across England’s four-game campaign.

Tom Lynch, commercial director at CGA Strategy, says the tournament represents an opportunity for brewers to woo women and younger drinkers. Lager remains the favoured drink of pub-going football fans, and will be enjoyed by 40 per cent of those going out during the tournament, the research claims.

He adds: “Our consumer research shows that international football creates a diversity of demographics rarely seen for televised football in pubs and arguably for pubs in general.

“This challenges the accepted wisdom that World Cups are all about blokes in the pub drinking lager and more about a major international event bringing mixed groups of people together, perhaps like no other. It’s an opportunity for pub operators and drinks manufacturers to engage or re-engage consumers in the virtues of the great British pub.”

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