Beermaker Taps Debates To Court Political, Media Elite
Unlike most high profile beer sponsorships, this one offers zero media exposure, but like any big event, behind the scenes of tonight's presidential debate, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be providing plenty of beer before and after the political fireworks. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the beermaker uses a much different sponsorship tactic to muster goodwill with the political elite:
It's not like sponsoring the Fiesta Bowl; these aren't the “Anheuser-Busch InBev Presidential Debates.” The brewer's involvement is more subtle. But it's there.
The brewer, the longest running sponsor of the Commission on Presidential Debates, has been an official partner since 1996, when it for the first time spent $550,000 for the privilege and while some companies have are taking steps to distance themselves from political discourse, Anheuser-Busch is more active than ever.
At each debate, the company sets up hospitality tents for volunteers, reporters and campaign staff with souvenir mugs and Anheuser-Busch signage, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. For the first debate in Denver, the brewer supplied its corporate chef to stuff the media with beer and ribs and Anheuser-Busch even has a twitter feed (AB_Debates) dedicated to the debates.
The sponsorship is an extension of the brewer's lobbying and political donation efforts, to which it earmarks millions of dollars each year.