A heavily-criticised deal to promote beer brands at the next two Olympics covers all brands in AB InBev’s portfolio, Alcohol Review has learned.
The deal shows a “disgraceful disregard for the health and wellbeing of the millions of children” said the UK Association of Directors of Public Health on Monday, with Scottish health NGO SHAAP saying it is “very disappointing”,
The agreement between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and AB InBev will cover “all the brands within AB InBev’s portfolio”, a spokesperson told Alcohol Review today, adding that there will be “a global focus on non-alcoholic beer products”.
The deal includes “increased prominence and availability of these products for fans and athletes across the world to celebrate and encourage responsible drinking”, the IOC said. It said the partnership will be “led globally” by AB InBev’s new no-alcohol brand Corona Cero. Olympic sponsors’ brands are not seen on the field of play as they would be in football.
“The proposed marketing activities are focussed on an adult audience only with a strong responsible drinking message as a key component. We are confident that this partnership will meet all appropriate industry standards in relation to its positioning and messaging,” said a British Olympic Association spokesperson.
Critics say the purpose of promoting a zero alcohol brand like this one is to simultaneously promote a near-identical alcoholic brand, hoping to sides-step advertising restrictions like those in France, which hosts the games this year.
The IOC’s statement on Friday said AB InBev’s 3.5% Michelob Ultra brand will take the lead at the Los Angeles games in 2028. One of its selling points is being relatively low in calories. The Olympics have featured some alcohol sponsorship before but this is the first time an alcohol company has been a worldwide partner. ■