Heineken goes large to create oversized RWC atmosphere

It’s still 18 months until the Rugby World Cup kicks off, but a massive behemoth of a billboard has already been erected on the corner of Albert Street and Custom Street East in Auckland to mark the auspicious occasion and Heineken New Zealand thinks the rather lovey dovey text (“Turning great rivalries into even greater friendships, since 1873. It’s almost time”) hints at the experience tournament attendees can expect from the beer brand in 2011.

Heineken, a worldwide partner of Rugby World Cup 2011, and its alcoholic overlord Dominion Breweries, claims the iSITE billboard, at nearly 150 metres long, is the largest in Australasia, although APN might have something to say about that: it put up a massive behemoth of its own for Virgin airline V Australia in Sydney in July last year that came in at over 200m.

Heineken New Zealand’s managing director, Brian Blake, says the billboard, located in what is reputedly the most expensive piece of outdoor advertising real estate in the country, is an example of the atmosphere Heineken intends to bring to the RWC in 2011. Presumably, this atmosphere will be oversized, and will show the diplomatic power of Heineken to turn bitter rivals into great chums (maybe there needs to be more Heineken on offer during the construction of the Dunedin stadium to lessen the acrimony).

“Rugby World Cup 2011 will be the biggest sporting occasion – and arguably the biggest event – that New Zealand has ever hosted. The tournament provides a fantastic opportunity for Heineken to engage with premium New Zealand beer drinkers and share our experience of international sporting events. Heineken’s involvement in Rugby World Cup stretches over many years and we’ve improved our Heineken experience each time we’ve been involved.”

Fans (of both Heineken and rugby) can look forward to retail and in-bar promotions to further enhance the tournament experience as the start date edges ever closer.

“Rugby World Cup 2011 is our brand’s opportunity to showcase Heineken New Zealand to the world and present the local Heineken experience to visitors,” Blake says. “As far as we’re concerned, this is it, and we will be putting considerable time and effort into making sure it is a success on every level.”

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