World Cup offers Budweiser maker chance to score market share
By Philip Blenkinsop
BRUSSELS, June 12 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer maker, is relying on the World Cup to grab market share from rivals and make its top-selling Budweiser a truly global brand.
The brewer says it has increased its marketing budget by a "low to mid-teens percentage" this year to sell more beer - extra spending of between $600 million and $1 billion.
While it has traditionally held on to its No.1 spot by cutting costs and rising prices, Anheuser-Busch has room for an extra publicity outlay this year because of a boost to income from its takeover of Mexico's Grupo Modelo last year.
"This is the year they can say let's give it a proper go and see what the result is," said RBC Capital Markets analyst James Edwardes Jones.
While Budweiser has been the official beer of the World Cup since 1986, AB InBev only acquired the brand in 2008 and so has only sponsored one World Cup so far: In South Africa, in 2010, a market dominated by rival SABMiller, it increased its marketing spend by 2 percent.
This year is different. AB InBev has a near two-thirds share of the Brazilian market, so is firmly in home territory. Brazil is also one of the new target markets for its leading brand.
Companies have paid an estimated $120-160 million each to be sponsors of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, according to Sports Sponsorship Insider. Its editor Matthew Glendinning believes AB InBev, as a brewer with more obvious marketing potential, is likely to have paid towards the top of that range.
"This is the biggest global marketing campaign ever for Budweiser," Andrew Sneyd, the brand's marketing director, told Reuters. Continuación...