01 July 2016

What’s “Probably” doing at the UEFA championship?

You may have been wondering, while watching television during the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, what the word “Probably” – posted on the perimeter advertising boards in all nine stadiums in France – refers to. Is it a mistake? And who’s behind it?

It can be revealed that it’s the Danish brewer Carlsberg, the game’s official beer sponsor. Alas, the Danish brewer has had to contend with a small problem in France. In the Grande Nation, there is the “Loi Evin”, a law which prohibits alcohol advertising in football stadiums. Named after the former Health Minister Claude Evin and in effect since 1991, the Loi Evin outlaws the advertising of tobacco and alcohol on TV, cinema and sports arenas to protect the young.

Carlsberg tried to get around this ban creatively by simply using the first word of a slogan, which the brewer employed between 1973 and 2011: “Probably the best beer in the world.” Of course, the word “beer” and the mention of the name Carlsberg are also off-limits. That’s why when the board flips over you will only read “the best in the world.”

After possibly spending as much as EUR 80 million (USD 90 million) on marketing for the championship, Carlsberg seems to believe that beer drinkers know what the allusion refers to. But will viewers feel encouraged by this advertising to buy a Carlsberg next time they go shopping?

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