12 May 2010

Creative Marketing I: Sponsorship

As we’ve seen, alcoholic beverage advertisers are quite restricted in what they can and cannot do to promote their brands. It is one of the most highly regulated forms of advertising around the world.

In some countries alcohol advertisers are completely banned from using mass communications to promote their products; in others advertisers must comply with complex regulatory systems and multiple levels of regulation. Generally, alcoholic beverage advertisers are prohibited from using misleading statements, advertising that targets minors, and images or statements that associate alcohol with athletic achievement, or that encourage intoxication. They also must promote intelligent and responsible drinking.

Given the restrictions, alcoholic beverage advertisers must get creative. One way is sponsoring events related to the advertiser’s target market. This form of advertising is allowed in most countries, but not all. In France, for example, alcoholic beverage sponsorship of sporting events is prohibited. Sponsored events are usually part of a larger ad campaign using multiple media outlets and forms of promotion, targeting specific subcultural groups.

Sporting events are not the only alcoholic beverage sponsored events. Stella Artois, for example, sponsors film festivals worldwide. Absolut Vodka has sponsored various events (from films and festivals to private events at bars and clubs) to encourage consumers to minimize their carbon footprint. Alcoholic beverage advertisers are also increasingly sponsoring concerts world wide, even bike rides.

Contests or competitions are also sponsored by alcoholic beverage advertisers with the brand’s merchandise and drinking paraphernalia as prizes. Sometimes the prizes are more significant, such as Heinekin’s contest several years ago for a trip to an Italian music festival (which was also sponsored by Heinekin), or Stella Artois’ contest for a trip to the Cannes Film Festival (which is also sponsored by Stella Artois).
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