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Anheuser-Busch CEO: We're Not Walking Away From Sports

Wednesday, 20 May 2009 | 1:50 PM ET

Too much is being made of Anheuser-Busch InBev's decision to back away from certain sports marketing deals, says David Peacock, president and CEO of Inbev's Anheuser-Busch.

"We need to expand who we were talking to," Peacock told an audience at Beverage Marketing's Beverage Forum in New York. "We have got to talk to consumers where they're going, not where they've been."

Peacock highlighted digital and cable as two areas where the company is likely to expand its marketing spending.

Word-of-mouth marketing is also critical, especially for niche brands, Peacock said. "Sports was too heavy a priority, but we are not just walking away from these properties, as has been suggested," said Peacock.

In fact, Peacock said the company's efforts will be even "more aggressive" behind football this fall.

A-B InBev recently told NBC (parent of CNBC.com) that it would spend half as much on advertising during the Olympics and would not seek to be the exclusive beer brand for the event.

In a wide-ranging interview with Beverage Marketing's Chairman and CEO Michael Bellas, Peacock touched on a number of topics from the progress of the company's integration with Inbev to the performance of its brands.

In calling out the progress of Bud Light Lime, Peacock said the product is "more seasonal" than the company expected, and sales are accelerating as the weather gets warmer.

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