NYC’s Nevada Smith’s, self-described world’s most passionate soccer bar, gets extra mileage out of its beer promo tie-ins.
Football promotions are great ways to reach beer’s key target market, something Miller Brewing Company knows well. This year, Miller added an oversized bartender’s version of its 33-page, 18th annual edition of the Miller Lite NFL (TM) Football Guide. Jeff Waalkes, Miller Brewing Company’s corporate communications, says “Bartenders can use this Guide on-premise at game time as a source for ranking, statistics, player information and other details. As an official sponsor of the NFL, Miller has the right to use all 31 team logos. The logos create high-profile, attention-getting point-of-sale pieces which we can carry into local promotions.” Expect full POS materials from Miller, including danglers, inflatables and more.
Carlsberg and soccer, Beck’s and race cars, Heineken and
tennis–beer and sports promotional efforts can pay off.
Corona tackles the football season with the humorous Lime of Scrimmage and Limeheads themes. “The Limeheads are primarily an on-premise promotion that feature caricatures of football players in the form of collectable beer coasters,” says Don Mann, product director for Mexican brands for the Gambrinus Company, east coast importers and marketers of Corona. “The parrot-headed line-up includes Tweetie Trash-Souawaker, Hacksaw Limebuster, Jan Coronakowski, Deep Freezer Parrot, The Mad Bomber and Papa Parrot. Corona’s Lime of Scrimmage features turn-key kits (posters, banners, table tents, etc.) for ease of execution,” says Kevin Kramnic, Modelo brand manager for Barton Beers, west coast importers and marketers of Corona.
Coors takes a different tack, teaming up with Direct TV mid-August through September. Dave Taylor, Coors corporate communications, says “Two hundred and fifty consumers will get a chance to win the ultimate entertainment package that includes a Direct TV dish, remote control, receiver, installation and one year total choice subscription package.” Backed by radio spots, full POS is available.
Anheuser-Busch scores with a fan-based, team-specific approach. Dan McHugh, director of retail sales and promotion, says, “We are using fan-based photography to create a tailgating atmosphere with pictures the represent the local market. There’s a catch phrase for each market.”
For instance, for the Rams, it’s ‘Gotta Go To Work.’ For Green Bay, where the fans own the team, it’s ‘Tailgate With The Owners.’ For Pittsburgh, “If It Ain’t Steel, It Ain’t Real.” On-premise electric football games will roll out nationally, along with team decals and Monday night football schedules. “The 21-to-27-year-old is the primary market,” says McHugh, “but we also appeal to a broader, 21-to-40 sports bar crowd.”
European football (what we Yanks call soccer) rates a plug, especially since the season is long (August through May) and can improve your morning trade –live games air at 10 a.m. EST. A star soccer promoter is Carlsberg, imported by Labatt USA. Steve Ward, marketing director of European brands for Labatt USA, says, “There is quite a large underground interest in European Soccer in the U.S., typically in the major metros.”
Ward says that Carlsberg works with closed circuit TV companies to get rights to the games. “Carlsberg ads appear in the games, which are being watched in a bar that has Carlsberg available. You are advertising literally at the point of sale, so it’s a brilliant close sale for us.”
Other sports get the autumn treatment as well. Heineken once again swings in September with sponsorship of John McEnroe and the U.S. Open tennis matches, August 28 – September 10. “The standard beer drinker is a sports enthusiast who watches many different types of sports,” says Dan Rotella, national accounts marketing manager. “Our U.S. Open promotion is supported with television, radio and print advertising.”
October offers 11 major beer promotions, six Halloween-related. “Halloween is big across the board, not just the beer industry,” says Taylor of Coors, which continues its Queen of Halloween promotion for the sixth year. The celebrity queen is crowned the end of September and ties into a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in which drinkers purchase $1 to $5 paper pumpkins on premise. “We’ve raised over $10 million in the last eight years,” says Taylor.
Corona gives us “Save a Pumpkin: Carve a Lime” and “The Outer Lime Zone,” with the catchy slogan: Take Us To Your Corona. “Halloween is becoming the second biggest holiday in the beer industry,” says Don Mann from Gambrinus. “A Corona Halloween promotion gives operators a chance to trade up in terms of margin and promote an import at a higher margin.That’s the story behind all our promotions.”
Other promos aimed at scaring up profits include Miller’s “Bring Your Party to Life,” with POS materials that feature a glamorous laboratory assistant in a Frankenstein-like setting; and Boddingtons’ “Invasion of the Boddie Snatchers,” with bar-roaming Boddie Snatchers and t-shirts that tease “Hands Off My Boddie.” “Halloween is the second biggest on-premise party occasion, right after St. Patrick’s Day,” says Steve Ward of Labatt USA importers of Boddingtons Pub Ale Draught. Ward also manages a non-Halloween theme for the Stella Artois brand: Stella’s first-ever US television spot. “We’ll be debuting this early October in San Francisco,” says Ward.
Heineken’s Halloween celebrates the 25th anniversary of a classic camp film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Dan Rotella says, “We’ll have VH-1 On-Air promotion and retail POS support. The On-Air portion will invite consumers to enter a sweepstakes to win a trip for four to London, the birthplace of this well-known movie.”
One non-Halloween theme for October is Labatt Blue’s “Win a Lodge” promotion which will offer one lucky winner a rustic lodge (cash equivalent of $125,000) with strong media and POS support. “Labatt promotions are about delivering the best of Canada,” says Devin Kelly, Labatt USA Canadian brands manager.
October starts the hockey season, and according to Kelly, “Labatt Blue is the brand for the hockey player, rather than the hockey spectator. We’ve never brought it to the national level, but feature local programming and promotions, such as work with the Sabers on charity events and pickup games. We own the National Hockey League contract in Canada.” (Bud Light is the official beer of the NHL in the U.S.)
Bud’s Bubble Boys will continue, says Dan McHugh of Anheuser-Busch. “Once again, there will be a national Bubble Boy tournament in conjunction with the Stanley Cup finals. The grand prize will be a trophy, a jersey autographed by the final teams, and a big bar unit of the Bubble Boy game.” McHugh promises lots of team-specific POS, and ways for more customers to participate in the game.
Corona spoofs the fall elections with cartoon characters and outrageous slogans, including “Read My Lips: I’m Thirsty,” “Don’t Blame Me: I Voted for Corona” and “I Did Not Have A Corona with Her, But I Wish I Had.” “This on and off premise promotion runs Labor Day through the fall,” says Mann from Gambrinus, “and is supported by radio spots and lots of merchandise.”
Heineken and Amstel Light partner a hip e-tailer program with 800.COM, one of the Internet’s largest e-tailers of electronic equipment. Rotella says, “Our POS will offer consumers a free ‘Web-Decoder’ card, which when held up to 800.COM’s web page, gives the consumer a discount on all the latest electronic gear, such as TiVO’s and MP3 players.”
Anheuser-Busch teams up with Toys For Tots in a new fundraising event where customers donate a dollar or two to get their names posted on-premise, says McHugh. A-B will also donate a certain percentage of sales from its “millennium” package, available again this year as a unit or single 750 ml. bottles.
And last but not least, a November ski promotion from…Corona? “Who thinks of Corona as a winter beer?” laughs Kramnic from Barton. “But ‘Brewski’ runs from November through May, in some markets. It’s mainly on-premise geared around skiing venues, like Colorado and parts of Wisconsin, Nevada and California. We’ll tie it in with fun and different stuff.” Perhaps a snow-boarding parrot?
Dan Rotella, national accounts marketing manager, Heineken, says, “Promotions help gain short-term volume, foster long-term growth and build brand value equity. We’re always looking for a way to enhance and support our high-quality image while driving retail volume.”
Marc Kramer, New Jersey regional rep, Gambrinus (Corona), says, “The whole idea of promotions is brand awareness, visibility and sampling opportunities. On-premise is where you seed and build brands, and off-premise is where you harvest. Banners, merchandising and feature prices draw people in. Retailers like feature prices because fast nickels are better than slow dimes.”
Jeff Waalkes, corporate Communications, Miller Brewing Company, says, “We know from experience that promotions generate attention, increase our visibility, build on our brand imagery and, ultimately, stimulate sales. We’ve found over the years that people who are attracted to an exciting off-premise display, or who participate in a on-premise activity are more likely to invest in that brand, which, of course, increases sales opportunities. Our key audience is the legal age to 35 year old customers. We develop promotions which we believe will appeal to the audience.”
Kahunaville, a growing, privately owned regional entertainment chain with seven mall locations from Delaware to Ohio, is into interactive promotions. “The more interactive a customer is, the longer he will stay and the better chance he’ll return,” says Mark Broadhurst, the chain’s operations analyst, adding that promotions are a big part of their business.
“We’ll take a brewer’s program and provide adjuncts,” says Broadhurst, who is working with Coors and Patrick Henry Promotions to customize Coors’ Direct TV Football program. “We also worked with Coors on an eight-week ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ theme, with unique music, intelligent lighting, escalating prizes and bartender lifelines.” Led by a super-charged DJ, on-going contests (like Name that Tune and a Kahunaville Knowledge Challenge) earn beer discounts for customers, at least while the red lights flash. “Crazy is what we always try to do,” says Broadhurst, who focuses on the 25-44 age group.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS FLIES
With 121 locations, mainly in the Midwest, Buffalo Wild Wings started systemwide promotions three years ago, says John Hinz, national marketing manager, who focuses on the 21-30 age group. “Promotions bring people in and give them another opportunity for action. Once they get in, there is so much to do, they don’t want to leave.”
One seat-sticker is the Monday Night Football wing-eating contest. Miller provides the POS and BW3 gives the prizes (usually restaurant gift certificates). Another is Anheuser-Busch’s electric football game with four grand prizes per store: a Budweiser Helmet Grill, two outdoor all-terrain chairs and a twill jacket. Hinz is also proud of their fund-raising for St. Jude’s (Coors Brewing charity). “We raised $43,000 last year by selling the paper pumpkins, making us third in the country,” he says. “This created a lot of friendly competition and camaraderie among employees. This year, we plan a party for our top-netting store.”
NEVADA SMITH’S KICKS HARD
“Our slogan is ‘The World’s Most Passionate Soccer Bar’,” says ‘Happy’ Jack Keane, manager and director of soccer for Manhattan’s Nevada Smith’s, a 300-capacity bar that serves no food, opens as early as 6:30 a.m. and shows soccer re-runs in the off season (June and July). “During our live transmission of the Euro 2000 Tournament this year, we collected more entrance-fee money than any other bar in America,” says Keane.
“The beer promotions really help us. We put Carlsberg banners outside and do price point specials. We also give away lots of t-shirts and replica shirts.” Keane expects a big boost in Carlsberg sales if Nevada Smith’s gets screening rights to Mel Gibson’s film about the Manchester United soccer team. “It premiers in Europe in October,” and features the bar, says Keane, who adds, “If we have the U.S. screening party here, we’ll have Mel Gibson as well.” Expect more than European ex-pats to show up for that one.