Sports Special: Budweiser to sponsor Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Updated: 2012-04-18 08:04
By He Wei in Shanghai (China Daily)
Leading global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, or AB InBev, will sponsor the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2012, the company announced recently.
The company will use its global flagship brand "Budweiser" to form a partnership with Porsche, a globally renowned luxury car manufacturer.
This marks the company's latest move to raise brand awareness through a cooperation that highlights a hip and modern lifestyle, said Miguel Patricio, president of AB InBev APAC Zone.
"We want to be associated with what is cool, modern and inspirational for our consumers. And we do have a strong relationship and special commitment to China," said Patricio in a recent interview.
Headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, AB InBev operates in 23 countries. In 2011, the company generated sales revenue of $39 billion.
The company has spent the past few years introducing Budweiser to new consumers in emerging markets while maintaining the brand's connections with long-time loyal consumers.
It has sponsored many major events throughout the world, including the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and Formula One races. While the company has been actively engaged in many music events in China, its current collaboration with Porsche would be first of its kind in car races Asia-wide.
Pursuit for passion
Patricio foresees car races will quickly become popular over the next few years in China, and he believes the sponsorship will reinforce the concept of living life with passion, which is the message AB InBev hopes to get across to consumers.
"Now, motor racing is still not a big phenomenon in China, but we truly believe that there is a lot of potential. So we want to be with Porsche, and we believe the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is the ultimate association in terms of sports and our brand. We are quite confident and optimistic about this new partnership," he said.
Bringing its signature brand of motor sports competition to millions across the region, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has earned a large fan and media following since its launch in 2003. Since the 2011 season began, Porsche China has taken the organizational reins of the series.
Now firmly established as Asia's premier international sports car racing championship, the series began a new era in 2011 with a record grid and an enviable calendar. A truly international field of drivers is now competing, some coming from as far as Europe and the United States.
The 2012 line-up will see the series debut of former Formula One test and reserve driver Ho-Pin Tung, who will be driving for Budweiser as part of the championship-winning Budweiser Team Star Chase.
Patricio said when choosing partners, AB InBev is always pursuing the best.
"Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is the best such game in the continent particularly, and has the potential to become bigger. We believe Budweiser is the king of beers and Porsche is the king of cars. So we want to be associated with things that are powerful, have high quality standards and passion," he said.
Patricio said motor racing is something that is highly appreciated by men, which is also true for Budweiser.
And the company is eyeing comprehensive communication channels, including TV, radio and print advertising, social media and events in sports stadiums and other public venues for this campaign. Patricio sees the sponsorship as a long-term investment, the potential of which can be fully explored in the many years to come.
As a leading brewer, AB InBev feels the obligation to set a high industry standard for encouraging the responsible enjoyment of products by adults of legal drinking age. In each of its markets, it has sponsored special programs to promote responsible drinking and discourage alcohol abuse.
For example in China, it partnered with the Beijing Traffic Police Bureau in creating a campaign that includes a popular "I Do" music video. Launched in digital media, the video encourages consumers to commit to being designated drivers. The campaigns have inspired more than 13 million Chinese consumers to take the designated driver pledge.
"Budweiser is the only beer brand in China that has been communicating responsible consumption through TV and the Internet. So the current sponsorship is not encouraging drinking and driving, but the other way round. That's the commitment we have made about responsible consumption," Patricio said.
Personally a devoted fan of car racing, Patricio is excited about the upcoming games, and he will take his young daughter to watch the race and pass on his joy to her.
He believes the prospects of the Chinese market are rosy. He said the company is developing campaigns and packaging tailored to Chinese consumers. And on important occasions, such as the Spring Festival, it develops specific innovative and trendy designs that contain Chinese elements on the bottles.
"Our wish is to design for China by the Chinese people. And we believe the Budweiser China group is the leading innovation team in the world of Budweiser," he said.