Carling to sponsor live music events

Carling has struck what is thought to be the UK's biggest music

sponsorship deal.

It has signed a three-year contract to sponsor Clear Channel-owned music

venues the Hammersmith Apollo and Manchester Apollo. The agreement will

give Carling naming rights to concert tours operated by Clear Channel as

well as pouring rights, making it the exclusive lager supplied at

Carling-branded music events and the Apollo venues.

This is a significant shift from its efforts in the 1990s to link the

brand with sport through its nine-year sponsorship of the FA

Premiership, which ended this year.

Clear Channel owns Clear Channel Entertainment, which promotes tours for

Madonna, U2, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Elton John and the

Backstreet Boys. It also owns huge worldwide radio and outdoor

advertising interests.

In the UK these include More Group, 31% of Jazz FM and a stake in

Ministry of Sound Radio.

Stuart Cain, head of sponsorship at Bass Brewers refused to divulge any

details before the deal is signed. He said there were "three or four

more partners" involved in the wider sponsorship.

Carling's association with the music entertainment sector has so far

been confined to The Carling Weekend festivals at Reading and Leeds,

which is three years old, and pouring rights at V2001.

Interbrew is taking bids for Carling and other Bass brands, which the

DTI has forced it to sell by February.

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Carling's music link represents a new direction for beer marketing. Now

that traditional tie-ups with sport have become cliched and, arguably,

overpriced, the proliferation of mass-market music events makes music

the logical next route for brands. Carling also stands to benefit from

cross-media opportunities arising from Clear Channel's interests in

outdoor advertising, radio and television. The deal is likely to

heighten Carling's appeal as a target for potential buyers.


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