The Danish beer giant Carlsberg Breweries A/S is to invest in a major revitalisation of its flagship Carlsberg brand. The development of the new, global positioning "Drink with a World of Friends" follows a €5m investment in an international brand research programme.

It will support the current "Probably the best beer in the world" line, which will continue as the brand's slogan.

"Beer brands are still primarily local, however, patterns are changing and global sales of the more profitable international premium brands are increasing," said Nils S. Andersen, president and CEO of Carlsberg Breweries.

"Over the coming years we foresee a moderate worldwide growth of beer consumption of approximately 2%, whereas we expect the profitable premium segment to grow 4-6%."

He continued: "In order to capitalise on these trends and achieve our target of 8% annual brand growth for the Carlsberg brand, we have developed a new common positioning for Carlsberg that will transcend national borders and ensure increased brand growth in core markets as well as successful new market entries."

According to Carlsberg's research, whilst the quality of Carlsberg was recognised, there was an opportunity to add a stronger emotional dimension to the brand experience. "It revealed that as the world gets smaller, consumers enjoy meeting people with similar values around the word. Great beer brands offer good moments with friends, and Carlsberg thus makes them feel part of a bigger world," a Carlsberg release explained.

"Based on the research findings and following further testing, the essence of the new global positioning 'Drink with a world of friends' was developed in order to meet consumers' desires to find common values and 'friends' wherever they are."

In order to refresh the brand further, packaging, point-of-sale and advertising material have been renewed to give the brand a more "stylish" appeal and reflect the new positioning, whilst still featuring the 'Probably the best beer in the world' slogan as the brand continues to grow in new markets.

The new element in the global positioning will be implemented on a market-by-market basis. By end of 2nd quarter 2003 it is anticipated that all major markets will be fully utilising the global positioning, with some adaptations in Denmark and the UK, where the Carlsberg brand is available in several product categories.

To support the new positioning, Carlsberg Breweries has invested in new advertising and promotional materials, which communicate the new positioning. The company will also continue to invest in its international sponsorship events to underpin the brand's values. It has recently renewed its contract to sponsor Euro 2004 and 2008 and today the company publish a renewed main sponsor contract with Liverpool. Carlsberg will also be supporting the World Ski Championships in 2003, the World Cup Ski Races and major golf tournaments in Asia.