Campaign of the Week

19 July 2022

Corona boosts football stadium beer sales with NFC chip jerseys 

Brewer turns football shirts into contactless payment method in Mexico

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium (Estadio Azteca) is one of the jewels in the crown of the football-mad nation. The country’s largest stadium hosts the national football team and has been the site of legendary goals from international superstars. Unfortunately, it has a major pickpocketing problem.

As a result, football fans tend to leave phones and wallets at home when they go to a match, leaving them with no cashless way to pay for a mid-match pint. For Corona, this translates into a dramatic loss in sales at a huge consumption occasion. 

To solve this problem, Corona provided people with the opportunity to have waterproof NFC chips attached to the inside of football shirts. (NFC chips allow wireless communication between two electronic devices close to each other and facilitate contactless payments.) The chips were positioned behind team badges and acted as a digital wallet on match day – with vendors tapping their PoS terminal to the shirt to take payment for Corona beer.

Jersey Pay, created by VMLY&R Commerce Mexico, Mexico City, was piloted at a Mexican League match between Club America vs Juarez in April 2022, and then extended to other matches in the season. 

Team shirts could be taken to a Modelorama store (owned by Corona’s parent company, AB InBev) to get the tag inserted, while designated stalls within the various stadiums also offered the service. 

Stadium visitors added credits to digital wallets on the Modelorama website.

​​​​​​​Results / 30,000 tags were installed, and sales volume in stadiums increased by 35%. Modelorama branches also saw a 25% increase in footfall.

Contagious Insight 

Badge of honour The problem here affected both customer and brand. Corona was losing out on a lot of potential sales, and match attendees were unable to enjoy a refreshing brew on match day. In this way, this campaign is similar to Barclaycard and Costa Coffee’s Clever Cups, which allowed customers to pay for coffee with a reusable coffee cup that doubled up as a contactless payment device. Both campaigns are creative and stylish methods of easing the customer journey, and, ultimately, getting sales.

The chosen solution also aligns with a trend in consumer behaviour for contactless payment. Although not yet widespread, contactless payment is rapidly growing in Mexico, having risen in popularity as a more sanitary way to pay during the Covid-19 pandemic. Aside from helping with the pickpocketing problem, the payment method reduces friction for the buyer – no more fumbling around in pockets for cash. As  Richard Shotton argues in his book The Choice Factory, customers part with their money more readily when the process is as painless as possible. What’s more, the technology is easily scalable. Corona is currently planning to extend the initiative to a total of 17 stadiums in Mexico, reaching 430,000 potential football fans throughout the season.

Close to your chest / Corona has a history of initiatives connecting Mexican fans to the sport they love. Earlier this year, the brand brought match commentary to Mexico’s indigenous communities with its Native Sportscasters campaign, and in 2020 created a match out of archive footage to entertain football-starved fans during the first Covid-19 lockdown. With this campaign, Corona gets even closer to fans, both metaphorically and literally, by attaching its brand to an object with large sentimental value – in this case the club’s badge. Wearing the team’s colours and kissing the badge when a goal is scored are all part of how fans express devotion to their team. Now, when fans hold the badge and tap to pay, Corona gets to piggyback that positive sentiment, however briefly.

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