“Well, this is awkward”. This was the tweet by Budweiser, who paid $75 million to FIFA for sponsoring its beer during football matches. Things went south for the brewery when Qatar, the host country for FIFA world-cup championship, overruled its decision to allow alcohol on the game venue. Now, FIFA can only distribute BudZero, its non-alcoholic alternative, in the stadiums. The sponsorship contract signed between FIFA and Budweiser was worth $112 million. However, after the incident, AB-Inbev seeks a deduction of $47.4 million from the original deal amount.
Now, for many soccer enthusiasts out there, beer is an inevitable drink partner. Not only will Budweiser incur a loss in millions of dollars, but the spectators also will not have a beer in their hand to chug every time their favourite player hits a goal. However, people can still find alcoholic beer outside the stadium perimeters at FIFA’s official fan festivals and licensed hotels that supply alcohol.
But what happens to the stacks of Budweiser booze lying in Qatar warehouses? Letting go of all those beer cans can be a colossal inventory loss for the company, and shipping it all back to the headquarters would be another big expense. But, Budweiser had a plan for this too. On Nov 19, the beverage company tweeted that the winning country wins the alcohol too. The tweet read, “New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds”.
Now, this can be a huge branding opportunity for Budweiser when the legendary football win will be celebrated with beer all across the winning country. Whether Budweiser will hand out the heap of beer cans for free, at a discount, or its original price is yet to be revealed.
What do you think about Budweiser’s strategy to win people’s hearts?