NEW YORK: Dos Equis, the beer brand owned by Heineken, will use its sponsorship of the College Football Playoff on ESPN to help "refresh" its brand.

Ryan Thompson, Brand Director/Dos Equis, discussed its status as the official beer sponsor of ESPN's broadcast of the climax of the college football season at the Global Strategic Management Institute's (GSMI) Brand Strategy Conference.

"We're changing our brand identity," he said. (For more, including further details about this campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Dos Equis' new "interest": ESPN college-football partnership.)

"We're refreshing that to make sure that it's really more contemporised. And, ultimately, we're bringing in a new sponsorship platform, which is College Football Playoff."

More specifically, this partnership coincides with a shift in the brand's "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign, which, in its original form, highlighted offbeat pursuits that offered little obvious connection to football's mass appeal.

Dos Equis experienced similar issues when it "dabbled" in previous tie-ups with the World of Adventure and X Games – two action-sports franchises – as well as Tough Mudder's series of endurance races.

"The problem is that we didn't have the media and the retail activation or link there," he added.

As Dos Equis now sells 25m cases per year, it has also reached a scale where tapping the broad reach of college football – which attracts millions of TV viewers across the country – makes strategic sense.

"That sports viewing occasion has expanded beyond just sports bars. It's in every tavern, bar, casual-dining facility. There's always a sports-viewing moment. So that's a huge opportunity for us," Thompson asserted.

"What we're trying to do here is really trying to premiumise the occasion. Again, we're a mainstream brand. But we're not doing things on the domestic level."

As an additional benefit, the College Football Playoff affiliation demonstrates how sponsorship can be put to work for various core stakeholders.

"How do you align those passion points of consumers to your commercial objectives? And, at the same time, if you're really lucky, also make sure that you're hitting a passion point for your customer and your distributor as well?" said Thompson in describing the challenge.

Data sourced from Warc