CAMPAIGNS: Art proves big beer for Bass - Sponsorship

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.

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

around 500.

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

Harvey Nichols.

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

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