What: Jorge Inda Meza, Head of Marketing at Anheuser-Busch, and a member of the soon to be announced Portada Sports Marketing Board, talked to Portada about the company’s Copa America advertising last year, and why sports marketing investments will continue to be crucial to Anheuser Busch going forward.
Why it matters: It is no secret that beer is one of the most marketed products during sports events. This is why brands like Anheuser-Bush have been using different sports and special sports events as their door towards growing their brand recognition and consumption. (Total ad expenditures of Anheuser Busch were of US $1.57 billion in 2014).
“Last year was a very important and successful year for soccer in the U.S.,” says Jorge Inda Meza, Head of Marketing at Anheuser-Busch. Copa America was played in the country for the first time, reflecting the growing interest in the American community, both Hispanic and English-native, for soccer.
Of course Anheuser-Busch wasn’t going to let this huge opportunity pass. “For years Bud Light has been soccer’s main sponsor in the U.S.” says Inda Meza. So once they got the news Copa America was coming to the country, it didn’t take them long to make an offer to become the tournament’s main sponsor.
In addition, Bud Light is also Mexico’s national team official sponsor and, for the games season, it signed a deal with Mexican Soccer star Chicharito as its influencer and spokesperson. Having these three connections to the fans permitted the brand to be where the attention is.
This year Bud Light has signed an agreement to be FIFA Confederations Cup main sponsor in the U.S., and it will keep sponsoring Mexico’s national team.
What Inda Meza and his team learned from the whole experience was that is crucial to create several different connecting points with consumers. It just wasn’t enough to be on TV when the fan is in the stadium, or being on a mobile platform when the fan is reading the local newspaper. “We really needed to be everywhere,” he ads.
It might come as a surprise to some of us, but one of Bud Light’s main marketing outlets were local weekly Hispanic newspapers, mainly in California. “During other times of the year newspapers are not relevant to us. But during the Copa America, for example, we have to be there,” explains Inda Meza.
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A second fact, the Bud Light campaign showed was how much English-natives love soccer. It isn’t a Hispanic-only sport anymore. Many of the games were broadcasted in English. This only means a bigger audience and more consumers.
What’s up for 2017?
One thing Inda Meza has learned is how important it is to get the right properties, and to be the event’s and team’s main sponsor. This year, for example, Bud Light has signed an agreement to be FIFA Confederations Cup main sponsor in the U.S., and it will keep sponsoring Mexico’s national team.
Bud Light isn’t their only strong brand in sports. Michelob Ultra, for example, keeps being golf’s main sponsor as “Official Beer of the PGA TOUR”.
What is different about Michelob Ultra is that it is a brand that “calls to action”, believes Inda Meza. This is why it also sponsors the Rock n Roll Marathon, and other races. And of course, there is also Budweiser to support the MLB.
Any massive sport, such as the NFL, NBA, or soccer, will keep being our bet.
In terms of general marketing, Inda Meza believes that his team will need to implement stronger and better-thought out of digital strategies. “We also need to tell stories which are emotionally relevant and that stand out because of their creativity,” Inda Meza ads.