COMMENT: A-B darts aimed at non-trendy consumers
Budweiser's latest sponsorship deal with the sport of darts may not be the most high-profile of associations. However, it highlights the need for brands to make connections with their entire customer base and not only focus on the young and trendy crowd.
Anheuser-Busch has secured a deal with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) for its leading Budweiser brand to become the headline sponsor of the UK Open Darts Championships.
The aim is to strengthen the brands' wide-ranging association with the sports world. Darts remains a popular activity in the UK: the television reach of the PDC darts championship is 6.8 million in the UK.
Budweiser is associated with 3000 sports associations, including being the official beer of the FA Premier League, sponsor of premier league football teams and official sponsor of the BMW Williams Formula One team. Now it can add darts to this stable of sports.
Although darts may not be the most glamorous addition to Budweiser's roster of sponsorships, it is important for a brand to cater for its entire customer base and not just to the young and trendy crowd. Besides, darts is perhaps the most perfect activity that a beer brand can associate with, given the almost symbiotic relationship between the two. This provides Budweiser with perhaps its greatest opportunity to inject real connections with a sports activity and maybe a little humor into proceedings too. For example, televised darts could be jazzed up with stats on how much beer each player has drunk.
As part of Budweiser's sponsorship deal, qualifiers will be staged at 130 Laurel pubs allowing amateur players the chance to enter regional tournaments and compete with their idols. This grassroots association should enable the beer brand to forge closer emotional links with its customers at point of sale.
Simple sponsorship often fails to provide brands with significant results and does not always guarantee increased brand awareness. Yet, more integrated event marketing campaigns, as pursued by Budweiser, are increasingly popular amongst CPG companies as brands aim to get closer to their customers.
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