Chris Brook-Carter

Brazil - fight, fight, fight.

By: Chris Brook-Carter - 21 April 2004 10:45

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The recent Brazilian beer market has been an entertaining lesson in trench warfare. AmBev and Schincariol’s battle for market share never ceases to fill us with wonder and awe. Throw in Molson, 23% of who’s gross sales last year came from Brazil, and commence aux festivales.

The latest twist, however, has set the scene for a summer of attrition.

Last month, AmBev launched a television commercial featuring one of the country’s most popular music stars, Zeca Pagodinho, enjoying the company’s flagship Brahma lager, and singing that he had returned to his true and only love.

Six months earlier, however, Pagodinho had featured in Schincariol’s ad campaign. He was still under contract to Schincariol when the AmBev ad was aired.

Schincariol’s reaction to the AmBev advert was typical of the “hit ‘em where it hurts” style of the Brazilian beer market. It ran a television advert featuring three friends, one of which was a double of the pop star, discussing how much money it would take for them to change their beer preferences. When the figure reaches $3m, the doppelganger says that he would do anything for that kind of money. In the background, a board advertises “Today’s special: traira.” Traira, a Brazilian fish, is also slang for ‘traitor’. Naturally, Pagodinho quickly took the company to court.

With beer sales in Brazil set to fall this year, thanks to a sluggish economic environment combined with cooler-than-average weather, expect the war to get uglier before it gets prettier – if that’s possible.

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