No Football References in Grolsch Commercials Around the World Cup in Qatar

Beer brewer Grolsch is not conducting a marketing campaign that focuses on the sporting event around the World Cup in Qatar.


According to a spokesman, that decision was prompted by a “confluence of circumstances”, including international criticism of the human rights situation in the Gulf state.

“We have just launched a new campaign, emphasising spending time together. We will not make it a separate World Cup campaign,” explains Grolsch’s spokesman. Football or references to the sporting event in November and December do not appear in the commercials. Grolsch also considered how customers would respond to marketing communications regarding the sports event in November and December. The Dutch brewer does not yet know whether it buys airtime in commercial breaks around World Cup matches.

In Qatar, human rights organisations mainly criticise the conditions in which migrant workers are building stadiums for the World Cup. According to human rights groups, thousands of guest workers have died since the 2010 World Cup was awarded to Qatar. This happened, for example, on construction sites where stadiums were built for the tournament.

At previous final tournaments of the Dutch national team, the beer brand did come up with special promotions around a European Championship or World Cup. However, Grolsch reports that the emphasis has shifted to orange merchandise in recent editions.

Supermarket chain Lidl previously indicated that it would not conduct a major advertising campaign around the World Cup in Qatar. That would be inappropriate due to a “sum of factors”. Industry peers Albert Heijn, Jumbo, and Plus do not yet know what they will do around the World Cup.

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