Saturday, 24 October 2009

EABL: Tough choices, what is happening?

After severing what was their major sports events, it seems there is some imbroglio at one of Kenya's biggest corporate firms. East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL as it were ) have seen their sports sponsorship diminish in the last one year and their influence in sport come to a mere trickle.From the controversial Tusker Athletics meet (which wanted to model around the Grand Prix events of Europe) to the more recent Sevens withdrawal, a major shift has been in the making. We cannot not speculate here what informs some the decisions but it raises issues. Tusker Sports-the sports marketing arm of EABL has reduced drastically its influence in sports. If you believed so much in a sport, what would be so bad for the abrupt withdrawal?
Secondly, what informs a sponsorship decision? This comes especially with regards to the athletics meet. This ought to have been a soft drink or health drink at that. The best EABL would have done is use Alvaro which again has seen a decline in market share with the entry of Novida from Coca-Cola.
Third, it seems with the change of management, there are a few feathers to ruffle. Mahinda departure has seen some fairly controversial decisions not just relating to sports but even in the region. Price changes (increases at a time when your consumers are really squeezed for cash), partnership disputes ( the Tanzania Breweries and Serengeti 'politics'), to a lackluster reality show in the name of Tusker Project Fame (which some named Tusker Project Shame).
Branding gurus who engage in valuation of the brands will show the figures at the end of the year and if not wrong, some of the EABL brands will see a decline in their size and influence. Maybe it's the lull before a storm, maybe there is something brewing, just maybe !

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