Companies aim to score big at World Cup

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: World cup, United kingdom, Germany

If hell freezes over and Australia wins football's World Cup, then
Scottish & Newcastle will be on the hook for splashing out a
lot of Foster's beer in Germany.

The World Cup, which kicks off today and lasts until the final on 9 July, has not only got (nearly) everyone on tenterhooks - it also represents a marketing bonanza for food and drink companies among others. Official sponsors have splashed out huge sums to be in the faces of television viewers worldwide and frenzied fans on the ground in host-nation Germany. Beer features heavily in that picture. Scottish & Newcastle has jumped on what looks like a sure bet unlikely to come through, although its chief executive will surely be glad for the spend. In May this year the company took over the Foster's brand in Europe, the Russian Federation and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States from the Australian parent. The German marketing arm will pick up the tab for any fan drinking Foster's in an Australian bar in Germany on 9 July, if Australia gets to the final and wins. Unlimited free beer will certainly console the non-Australian fans. Tony Froggatt, Scottish & Newcastle's chief executive, is Australian, although company spokesperson Robert Ballantyne told that he was not sure if he was behind the offer, made by the Germany marketing arm of the company. "It's a fun local offer for the German market," he said in an interview. Asked if the company had insurance to cover the cost he said: "It's highly unlikely that we have insurance, and it's highly unlikely that we will need it." He's probably right. Australia, ranked 42 in FIFA team rankings is in the same group as Brazil, Japan and Croatia so it could be hard for the team to make it through the first round. But then, South Korea got to the semis four years ago, so anything is possible. In addition to fending off the smart move made by Scottish & Newcastle, German beer makers are not pleased that stadiums are required to open their taps to foreign beer. Another sore point is the fact that US-beer maker Anheuser-Busch is serving up its Budweiser brand as the official beer of the World Cup, a $40m sponsorship deal that was made before Germany had been chosen to host the tournament. Meanwhile a sample of product releases by Mintel shows that 112 brands or variations on brands were released by some of the world's major food and drink manufacturers. The data covers Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Among the best is a promotion by Campina, Germany aimed at getting couch potatoes moving. From April until May in Germany each one litre pack of milk has a point for collecting. After collecting five points, each consumer receives a one hour free training session in a football school which is worth €25. Nestlé wants you thinking about football when you wake up. The company has released a breakfast cereals in a number of countries in a ball shape, which the company says "magically" transform into footballs when mixed with milk. Nationalism features in a number of other products. Portugal-based brewer Cerveja Sagres Selecção has released a bottled beer with a "special recipe" to promote the national football team. Masterfoods in the UK has revamped its popular Mars Bars with a limited edition "Believe Bar", available interestingly enough until 16 June. A "Believe" ice cream variant will also be available. English fans are probably hoping the end-marketing date is not a forecast of the team's prospects. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are spreading their bets by featuring players from the markets their drinks are sold, according to the Mintel data. Coca-Cola, UK has a football shaped bottle. Other cans feature pictures of the three England goalkeepers in the squad. The neck of the bottle features the St Georges flag. Cans of Coca-Cola in Germany feature a photograph of a national football player from that country. Pepsi UK has released a cola soft drink featuring a picture of David Beckham on its bottle. In France the company cans have an image of French footballer Thierry Henry. Other products are more imaginative. A ready-to-eat vegetable skewers product from Hengstenberg in Germany is available in a glass jar with a black and white lid to resemble a football. Mini Babybel's and Edam cheese balls in France are in football-shaped or wrapped packaging. Edam's pack includes a FIFA World Cup timetable. Gräf's Mini Elf Liqueur in Germany offers a pack of 11 mini-liqueurs in a football outfit that form a circle. The pack also includes a whistle if you really want to get in the mood of giving red cards to get a drink. Data source: Mintel's Global New Products Database.

Related topics: R&D

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