Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
IMAGINE winning an all expenses paid trip to watch the biggest football game in Southern Africa in one of the largest stadia on the continent just for drinking your favourite brand of alcohol then entering a competition run by Delta Beverages.
This dream came true for 29 drinkers of Carling Black Label Beer in Zimbabwe when Delta Beverages took them to Johannesburg in South Africa last Saturday. In Mzansi, the 22 men and seven women witnessed the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates live at FNB Stadium. These men and women were winners of the Carling Black Label “Be the champion coach” promotion which was run by Delta Beverages from 1 May to 30 June.
Some of them had never flown before while others slept in a hotel for the first time in their lives.
A send off was held at the Delta Beverages lagers plant in Harare’s Southerton industrial area where the winners were presented with their air tickets by the integrated beverage company’s marketing executive, Patricia Murambinda. The group flew out to Johannesburg on Saturday. Once in South Africa, they were taken to their hotel then to the match venue. At the stadium, the Zimbabweans had a time of their lives as they had their own suite where they were provided with food and drinks which they failed to finish until they made their way back to the hotel an hour after the end of the match.
Besides Murambinda, who was the chaperone, other Delta Beverages senior management that were part of the travelling party were sales executive Stanley Muchenje and Irimayi Muzorewa, the channel marketing executive.
Murambinda said the whole idea of sending the group to South Africa was their way of paying tribute to the consumers of Carling Black Label which has grown to become the second biggest brand in terms of volumes sold in Zimbabwe after Castle Lager.
“Firstly for us it was to honour the champion men in Zimbabwe who drank Carling Black Label, this is why this time we partnered our counterparts in South Africa in introducing the Carling Cup competition for the first time in the country. Secondly, Carling Black Label is becoming a very big brand in Zimbabwe, it’s the second largest brand for us and we wanted to do something big for the brand so that we complement the sales volume growth,’’ Murambinda said.
Seeing that the Carling Black Label Champion Cup has been in existence since 2011 but Delta Beverages only rewarded consumers this year, Murambinda pointed out that it had to do with the expansion of the brand.
“It has to do with volume growth, when a brand is very small it cannot sustain big activities or sponsor big events so for us Carling Black Label could not do that since 2011 but with the growth that we have seen now in Zimbabwe the brand can sustain such activities as coming through to the Carling Black Label Cup,’’ Murambinda said.
On what they hope to accomplish by such initiatives, Murambinda explained that as Delta Beverages, they believe in giving back to the communities from where they carry out their business. Her hope is that the winners will go and share their wonderful experience with others back home.
“As an organisation we believe in corporate social responsibility and it is one thing that we would want to do to change people’s lives. I think you can attest to that, 28 people that we travelled with, the winners had never been on an airplane, it was their first time, some had never stayed in a hotel so these are the experiences that we would want to bring back to Zimbabwe and make a difference in the communities that we operate in,’’ Murambinda said.
Winners from this year are expected to become brand ambassadors for Carling Black Label and encourage others to enter Delta Beverages promotions.
“Firstly I would want them (winners) to be our Carling Black Label brand ambassadors, they share their experiences that they had here in South Africa and of course encourage other people to enter any competition that we hold as Delta because our competitions are fair and certainly you can win the prizes,’’ she said.
Prior to the Carling Black Label Champion Cup trip, Murambinda had also taken six of their customers to the Cosafa Castle Cup final in Rustenburg last month. There are also plans to take 10 drinkers to the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on 7 October.
“We have got plans later on in the year, we are still planning around the trip to bring rugby fans to South Africa and I am hoping it will materialise very soon and we will be launching a promotion around that,’’ she said.
On chances of sending another group for the Carling Black Label Champion Cup next year, Murambinda indicated that they will carry out an assessment of the whole trip then decide on the way forward.
“Normally what we do after holding such an event is to evaluate the whole activity, whether it sticks to our brand essence. This is the phase that we are going to get into and out of that evaluation we see whether we should repeat such kind of a promotion next year or not and we will advise our consumers in due course,’’ she said.
One of the women, Anna Chidothi of Highfield, Harare expressed her gratefulness to Delta Beverages for affording her the opportunity to travel to South Africa for the Soweto Derby. She revealed that she had never flown before.
“I just want to thank Delta Beverages because so many people entered the competition but they didn’t win. We enjoyed a lot, slept in nice hotels, it was my first time to fly, I am happy, I just want to thank Delta Beverages,’’ Chidothi said.
Locally, the 26-year-old mother of one supports Dynamos and last Saturday was backing Kaizer Chiefs. She has been drinking Carling Black Label since she was 21.
Bulawayo-based businessman Naresh Kewalram described his trip as incredible as he had never gone to a stadium where food and drinks were provided. Kewalram is a big Highlanders fan locally.
“The experience was fantastic, Delta Beverages never let us down in any way, meals were provided, drinks, transport and accommodation. I think it’s once in a lifetime because even if I had to go watch the game I would never go to VVIP. It was my first time ever going into a stadium where food is there, drinks are there, everything is there,’’ said Kewalram.
On what he really enjoyed about the trip, Kewalram said watching the match live and not on television is what excited him the most.
“What I enjoyed the most was watching a live game, not having to watch it on SuperSport. Everyone in my area knows that I am a Highlanders fan, so I am hoping that next time I am also a winner, thanks very much to Delta,’’ he said.
The Carling Black Label Champion Cup proved to be a wonderful experience for the Zimbabweans who watched the Soweto Derby live which should be encouragement for the country’s largest beverage company to run the promotion again next year.