Aside from Saudi Arabia’s victory against La Albiceleste, the World Cup’s most unexpected result may have been Qatar’s liquor ban on the eve of the competition.
The sale and consumption of alcohol are strictly regulated in Qatar. The country is a Muslim nation that is seen as being particularly conservative. FIFA said in September that ticketed attendees would only be able to purchase alcoholic beverages three hours prior to kickoff and one hour after a match.
The world’s governing body of soccer decided to concentrate the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, and other fan attractions. It also eliminated beer sales stations from the outer perimeter of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 stadium and permitted establishments.
The alcohol ban put a kink in Budweiser’s World Cup marketing plans. The Qatar liquor ban had drastically reduced the company’s visibility to thousands of World Cup attendees. To remain relevant at a World Cup without alcohol, Budweiser used clever marketing strategies.
Budweiser’s clever marketing strategies against Qatar’s liquor ban
At first, things got awkward for the beer maker but the brand quickly managed to recover. After deleting its tweet “ Well, this is awkward ”, it came up with the following two strategies:
The business came up with a creative way to get rid of all the beer left on its hands.
It also promised that the winning nation would receive the tens of thousands of beers Budweiser could no longer sell, shifting the celebrations from Qatar to the winning team’s country.
Additionally, the company supplied Bud Zero, an alcoholic-free beer, to concession outlets and filled the stadiums with television commercials featuring football legends Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr.
Why the 2022 Budweiser campaign is not a loss for the brand
Budweiser gave FIFA $75 million in exchange for the sole license to sell beer in Qatar. It may have spent an additional $5 million for brewing, refrigeration, shipment, etcetera before the World Cup. The company will not be able to recover this money.
However, the negotiations for the 2026 World Cup will be Budweiser’s best opportunity for success, and here’s why. Due to the disaster in Qatar, the business may ask FIFA for a $47 million discount on its $112 million deal.
And for the record, not everyone in the stadiums kept sober. An American fan reportedly used a bottle of suntan lotion as a flask during the USMNT games.
Qatar will be hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 through December 18.