Shortly after 12 of the best football clubs in Europe failed to launch their own European Super League, Heineken, as a long-standing sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, mocks the failure in an ad. ”Don’t drink & start a league” says the ad reminding on similar “Don’t drink and drive” campaigns.
In addition, the ads states “Enjoy Heineken responsibly” with the subline “Proud sponsor of Uefa Champions League since 1994.” The campaign which went live on Heineken Global’s Twitter and Instagram channels on Wednesday morning followed by Heineken’s local accounts in over 40 markets, was well received by the majority of its consumers.
On Sunday evening Europe’s richest football clubs from UK’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A stunned the game by announcing they were quitting the Uefa Champions League to launch the European Super League. Participating clubs were AC Milan, Arsenal London, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus Turin, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham. However, other Europen top leagues like the German Bundesliga with clubs like Bayern Munich and Dortmund or the French Ligue 1 with clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille refrained from the idea to support “nouveau riche league.”
"Our fans reject a Super League," said Bayern Munich officials when asked about the plans for a new league. Indeed, not only those clubs which would have been left over in a Champions League without champions rejected the idea. Football is still widely seen as a sport for everyone, and much of the players are drawn from the working-class neighborhoods of big cities and the slums in South America and Africa. No elitist league fits into this, in which no club can be promoted or relegated and in which only millionaires cavort.
Heineken was therefore well advised to stay on the side of the existing UEFA Champions League. This was also clearly seen by the Heineken team including global digital manager Laurens Griep, global digital director Rob van Griensven, global brand communication director Daniela Lebba and global brand senior director Bram Westenbrink.
Under intense internal and external pressure and only within two and a half days, the plan for a new league was finally abandoned as its launch members began to drop out. Super League’s organizers grudgingly admitted defeat, pledging to “reconsider the most appropriate steps.”