Heineken preps multi-brand marketing push

Heineken is to invest in “high-impact” marketing campaigns for its global brands such as Amstel and Desperados after its sponsorship activity around the UEFA Champions League and ahead of the London 2012 Games failed to lift flat sales across Europe in the first half of the year.


Worldwide revenue jumped 5 per cent to €8.8bn (£6.9bn) for the six months to June, driven by strong sales in Asia, Africa and the US.

However, in Western European beer sales fell 2.9 per cent during the same period. The sluggish growth came in spite of the brewer’s high-profile sponsorship campaigns around the Champions League and the London 2012 Games. The company actually supplied over 5270,000 gallons of beer to Olympic venues during the Games in July and August.

It is a commercial partner for the next James Bond film, Skyfall, due in November, in which Bond will be seen drinking the beer.

Like its rivals, Heineken has struggled in Europe in recent years as tough economic conditions have dampened consumer spending. Drinkers are turning to cheaper and less profitable brands, resulting in margin pressure.

The company’s net profit increased 30 per cent to €783m (£617m) thanks to the sale of a brewery in the Dominica Republic. Without the proceeds, profit before tax and interest increased by just 0.5 per cent to €1.27bn (£1bn).

The Dutch brewer says that its end-of-year profits are expected to be “broadly in line with last year, on an organic basis”. It adds that it will continue to invest in the expansion of global brands such as Desperados, Strongbow Gold, Amstel and Sol through “high-impact” marketing to stimulate growth.

In June, the brewer unveiled a wider strategy to globalise its premium world beer brands, motivated in part by Heineken’s desire to appeal to older drinkers.