Budweiser breaks first campaign in France

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PARIS -- Six years after Anheuser-Busch launched Budweiser in France, the beer is getting its first major ad campaign there --one month before the World Cup, which is hosted by France. Although Anheuser-Busch is an official sponsor of the event, France's Loi Evin prevents A-B from using its allocated advertising space at the stadium to promote alcohol because the outdoor boards would be seen on television.

Budweiser is distributed in France by Kronenbourg and, as a result, has 90% distribution in stores where alcohol is sold. However, Budweiser sales are stuck at 2.4% by volume within the specialty beer segment, according to LSA magazine.

The goal of this month's $2.8 million magazine and outdoor campaign is to increase brand awareness. The campaign doesn't mention soccer and Budweiser is not allowed to mention that it is a World Cup sponsor in its local advertising.

Instead, the campaign by DDB in Paris focuses on American icons. The Loi Evin limits what can be mentioned in alcohol advertising to subjects like how a brand is made or where it comes from.

The Budweiser campaign has a geographical theme--where the brand is sold. In one ad, a bottle of Bud looks like a skyscraper with the copy "Empire State Bud." Another ad has a bottle cap in the shape of a highway sign near St. Louis with the words "Bud 66." Under the terms of the Loi Evin, Anheuser-Busch had to document that Budweiser could be bought at a bar in the Empire State Building or other places mentioned in the campaign. The name of the bar and the address is printed by each ad.

From May through September, there will be tasting parties in bars and night clubs in order to get young urbans to sample the product.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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