How Bavaria's Beer Babes Kicked Budweiser's Butt in the World Cup

Last Updated Jul 13, 2010 10:00 AM EDT

Spain may have beaten the Netherlands in the final of the World Cup but Dutch brewer Bavaria Beer will be celebrating as if the solid gold trophy had been handed to them personally: The Bavaria Beer Babes' invasion of Holland's game v. Denmark gave them more free PR in the blogosphere than any of the competition's official sponsors, according to Hall & Partners, a brand research company.

The official beer of the World Cup was Budweiser but that turned out to be irrelevant in terms of online commentary:

The numbers on the Y axis represent blog mentions. H&P's marketing director Laura Sigman notes:
... at the peak of popularity (June 14), Bavaria Beer bested (official beer sponsor) Budweiser in the blogosphere by a whopping 558%. But the trend didn't end there. Throughout the duration of the World Cup (June 11 â€" July 11, 2010), Bavaria still garnered 371% more blog buzz than Budweiser.
Bear in mind that even in Europe, Bavaria isn't a big brand. (Amsterdam's big brewer is Heineken, for instance.) Bavaria outperformed all the official FIFA "partners" in blog world mention. Of the official sponsors, Adidas came in first (over Coca-Cola, Emirates, Hyundai, Sony and Visa), but Bavaria still garnered 14 percent more coverage. Sigman:
The lowest blog performer was Emirates, who hardly managed to get off the ground over the last 30 days, managing less than 30 blog mentions tying them to the World Cup.
Yikes.

The drama started June 18, when 36 models snuck into the Holland v. Denmark World Cup game disguised as Danish supporters until they stripped down to reveal orange dresses (orange is Holland's color). They weren't wearing any beer logos, but FIFA kicked them out of the game at half time and prosecuted the ringleaders. Here's what happened in the blogosphere on the day:

I've argued before that sponsorship of one-off sporting events (the Olympics, the Super Bowl, etc.) is a waste of time and money because a clever marketer can stage a stunt for close to zero money that's just as good. Ironically, Anheuser-Busch InBev probably ought to thank Bavaria for its guerrilla marketing -- some of its mentions undoubtedly came only because bloggers cited Budweiser as the official sponsor in their coverage of Bavaria.

And finally: If only Budweiser had sponsored Paul the Psychic Octopus, cephalopod football oracle of Sea Life Center in Oberhausen, Germany. Too late now, he's retired.

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