World Cup boost for Budweiser: ‘Football is a passion point in the new markets we’ve expanded in'

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

The World Cup has enabled Budweiser to engage with 3.2 billion football fans. Pic:getty/efks
The World Cup has enabled Budweiser to engage with 3.2 billion football fans. Pic:getty/efks

Related tags: Beer, Budweiser, Ab inbev, South africa, Sabmiller

Budweiser’s position as global sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia has helped AB InBev drive the brand into new markets opened up by the combination with SABMiller.

AB InBev says its World Cup campaign has given Budweiser - one of the world's biggest beer brands - a ‘unique opportunity’ to engage with 3.2 billion football fans globally. The beer giant's multi-billion takeover of SABMiller​ in 2016 has opened up new markets for Budweiser, which it has been expanding into. 

Budweiser revenues grew 10.1% outside its native US in the latest quarter, which AB InBev attributes to strong growth in Brazil, China and the UK, as well as many new markets following the brand’s role in the World Cup.

For example, the brand launched in South Africa in May, and AB InBev says the brand’s awareness and trial has benefited from the major consumer engagement campaign linked to the World Cup activation.  

Sound activated cups

Budweiser’s global World Cup tie-in has included a global advertising campaign, ‘Light Up the FIFA World Cup’, a commercial showing thousands of drones carrying Budweiser to fans. 

The campaign has been run in 50 countries around the world through television, digital and social media channels.

Budweiser also released more than 8 million noise-activated Red Light Cups, which light up with increased frequency as cheering gets louder. Other local activations have included collectable world cup bottles in China, and even a pledge to give England fans free beer in the event of the team winning.

Stadium sales up

One of AB InBev’s four key priorities is to expand its global brands (Stella Artois, Corona and Budweiser), with Budweiser already growing revenues​ in previous years.

Releasing its Q2 and half year 2018 results this morning, AB InBev said the World Cup campaign for Budweiser has helped maintain such growth, while its other global brands have also benefited from increased demand for premium products.

“The global trend of premiumization was also evident in the continued success of our global brand portfolio,” ​reported the company.

“Growth of our global brands accelerated this quarter, with revenues up 10.1% globally and 16.7% outside of the brands’ home markets. Budweiser revenues grew by 4.1% globally and by 10.1% outside of the US, driven by strong growth in Brazil, China and the UK, as well as many new markets following the brand’s activation as the global sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia."

Keeping score: The effect of Budweiser's World Cup activations

  • Budweiser launched in South Africa in May, and AB InBev says the brand’s awareness and trial has benefited from the major consumer engagement campaign linked to the World Cup activation.  
  • Meanwhile, AB InBev saw triple-digit growth for its global brand portfolio (Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona) in Colombia, driven by Budweiser on the back of the World Cup campaign.
  • The Western Europe region grew revenue by mid-single digits, ‘outperforming the industry with a strong execution associated with the World Cup’.
  • In China, Budweiser resumed volume growth in the latest quarter thanks to the World Cup activation. Revenue grew by 6.8% in 2Q18 with volume growth of 3.0% and revenue per hl growth of 3.7% - 'one of our best volume and share performances in the last three years'.
  • In Australia, Budweiser has been brewed locally for the first time and played a ‘key role’ in World Cup activations in the country.
  • In Brazil, local sponsor Brahma also performed well in the latest quarter with a strong volume performance resulting from tournament activations. In Peru, local brand Cristal has strong brand activation in support of the national team.

Most successful campaign ever: 'Football is a passion point'

Budweiser has been the official beer sponsor of the FIFA World Cup for more than 25 years, with an ongoing commitment in place for the 2022 tournament.

“Our 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia sponsorship was our most ambitious and successful ever, for both Budweiser and AB InBev," ​said AB InBev.

“As the official beer sponsor, we activated our Budweiser campaign “Light Up FIFA World Cup” in more than 50 countries."

"Football is a passion point in many of the new markets in which Budweiser has expanded following our combination with SAB, and this was a unique opportunity to engage with 3.2 billion football fans (according to FIFA) around the world and drive brand awareness.

“As a result of our global campaign and innovative digital-first approach to traditional sports sponsorship assets, Budweiser was the leading brand in social media conversations globally during the tournament.

"Additionally, due to an incredible execution in Russia, we sold more beer in the stadiums than in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

“We also activated our local brands in more than 40 countries, connecting with national pride in their home markets and contributing to accelerated volume growth across our portfolio.”

AB InBev Q2 and Half Year figures

  • Revenue grew by 4.7% in the quarter, with revenue per hl growth of 4.0%. On a constant geographic basis, revenue per hl grew by 4.5% driven by revenue management initiatives as well as continued strong premium brand performances.
  • In HY18, revenue grew by 4.7% with revenue per hl growth of 4.5%. On a constant geographic basis, revenue per hl grew by 4.9%.
  • Total volumes grew 0.8%, while own beer volumes grew by 0.9% and non-beer volumes were up by 0.5%. Good growth in own beer volumes was achieved in Mexico and China, partially offset by the US as well as South Africa, which cycled a particularly demanding comparable.
  • In HY18, total volumes were up 0.3% with own beer volumes up 0.7% and non-beer volumes down 3.4%.

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