Bass, although well known for its high profile sports sponsorship
of the Carling Premiership and Stones Rugby League, has not been
involved in art sponsorship before.
However, Draught Bass has long-established links with the art world -
the distinctive red triangle logo and bottle appear in around 40
paintings by Picasso, in Manet’s ’A Bar at the Folies-Bergere’ and in
works by Braque.
’We decided to exploit a sponsorship area that was not overcrowded,’
explains brand PR manager Kerry Teakle.
To reach a new audience of age 25-plus, style-conscious drinkers and
create an association with new and interesting art.
Arts sponsorship agency Contemporary Works was engaged to act as
’We chose a very cutting edge, but accessible exhibition at the ICA
called Assuming Positions to sponsor,’ says Contemporary Works director,
Sophie Price. The exhibition, running from 12 July to 28 September,
includes a fully-flushing toilet by controversial sculptress Sarah Lucas
and sound and video installations.
The sponsorship won an award under the Pairing Scheme managed by the
Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts. So Bass’ sponsorship
money was doubled which enabled the ICA to run a poster campaign on the
London Underground for the exhibition.
A preview party and press event launched the exhibition and the ICA
press office also helped to publicise the exhibition.
A number of ’grass roots’ events are also being sponsored, including the
launch of David Bowie’s art publishing house 21 at Legends in London,
the re-opening of the Serpentine and the opening of Sensations at the
Royal Academy. These events provided an opportunity to introduce Draught
Bass to an influential audience in the hope that this would inspire them
to try it in another setting.
Within the next couple of months a CD sponsored by Draught Bass called
We Love You, featuring collaborations between well-known artists and
musicians such as Gilbert and George, Leigh Bowery, Brian Eno and Stefan
Giardet will be released in the UK and US.
The previews of Assuming Positions were attended by 1,799 people on the
first day and 1,269 on the second, compared to the average audience of
The Sunday Telegraph carried a features by arts correspondent Catherine
Milner on the history of Bass’ association with the arts. Anthony
Thorncroft wrote about Bass’ new activity in his sponsorship column in
the Financial Times, which also reviewed the exhibition. Assuming
positions was also reviewed on youth magazine programme Straight Up.
The success of the grass roots events in introducing new audiences to
Draught Bass can be seen by the fact that bottles are now stocked in
trendy venues such as the Westbourne, the Groucho Club, Quo Vadis and
Media coverage of the We Love You CD is likely to far exceed that for
Assuming Positions and should include coverage in the US.
It is surprising that Bass has taken so long to exploit its link with
the arts. The sponsorship has only been on a fairly small scale so far,
but Teakle says : ’Our objective to recruit younger drinkers in the
London area has been achieved.’
’You need a long-term view of arts sponsorship and you can’t evaluate
such a small sponsorship,’ says Price. Teakle is hopeful that when the
sponsorship is assessed, the Bass board will be persuaded to put more
money into arts sponsorship and build on the relationship that has been
Client: Bass Brewers
PR Team: In-house and Contemporary Works
Campaign: Draught Bass Arts Sponsorship
Timescale: May - Oct 1997
Cost: pounds 80,000, including sponsorship