Global brand consistency – I’ll drink to that
Posted by Giles Lury on June 27, 2011
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One of the interesting points that SABMiller’s bid for Foster’s has brought to the foreground is the complicated ownership of the brand. The ultimate brand owner is indeed Fosters but the rights to the brand are owned by a number of different brewers around the world. Heineken owns the brand in many European countries (UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Italy, Romania, Czech Republic) as well in the Ukraine and Vietnam. Suntory own the brand in China, Carlsberg owns it in China and SABMiller owns it in India. The brand is licensed to Molson in Canada and to SAB Miller in the US.
Not too surprisingly the different brewers’ position the brand as they see fit in the countries where they own the brand, and so it has a variety of different positionings across the world. This raises interesting questions about the oft-made assumption that the best approach for a brand is one global positioning, which is one of those unwritten laws of marketing.
And whilst thinking about who owns what brand I’m reminded of one of my favourite examples from the past of different brands with the same positioning. A few years back before Unilever sold the brand – it owned Birds Eye (and Captain Birds Eye) in the UK where it competed with Findus.
In Italy Unilever’s frozen food brand, through which it sold many of its leading products like fish fingers, was Findus and of course they had Captain Findus!