Pilsner Urquell eyes Top Ten

SAB plans global advertising plan to boost sales five-fold by 2010

May 1, 2002 - South African Breweries plans a $10 million a year global advertising campaign in an effort to boost the Czech brewed Pilsner Urquell into one of the world's top ten selling beers.


Pilsner Urquell aims to increase production nearly five-fold by 2010 to compete with the world's top selling beers such as Budweiser, Heineken and Carlsberg.

The brewer kicks off its first TV campaign next month in Poland, and will make that country, Germany, Russia and the United State its four priority markets. The TV ads may reach the U.S. by the end of this year.

SAB bought Pilsner Urquell and Radegast in October 1999 to give the London-based brewer a 44% share of the Czech beer market.

In the new TV and print campaign, the old marketing line of "The first pilsner on earth" has been adapted to "The original gold beer." PU was the first pilsner, having been born in the Czech town of Pilsen.

One quick way of boosting the brand's presence in the U.S. would be if SAB bought Miller Brewing from Philip Morris and gained access to Miller's distribution network. While both Philip Morris and SAB admit talks of a $5 billion deal have taken place, neither would comment further on the discussions.

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