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Richard Oppy, the Vice President of Premium Co, Anheuser-Busch InBev and the only ever two-time Cannes Creative Marketer of the Year, took to the RESET stage to demonstrate how putting marketing in the drivers seat has led to the growth and transformation for Ab InBev’s world famous beer brands.


Becoming “brand builders instead of brand buyers”

Ab InBev knew that, in order to grow, they couldn’t continue relying on mergers and acquisitions to sustain their trajectory. They had to place marketing and creativity at the very core of their business strategy. 

Richard said, “We couldn't rely on M&A anymore. We had to grow organically. And we knew that if we were going to grow organically, we had to make the shift from being brand buyers, to brand builders. And if you're going to be a brand-led organisation, marketing has to be in the cockpit. Marketing has to be flying the plane.”

Solve real life problems

Richard spoke about how “Corona is one of the most loved brands not just in Australia but in the world. And one of the ways they differentiate this brand is with the lime ritual.”

There was one problem though. China is the country where people drink the most beer in the world. But it’s also the country that produces the least amount of good quality limes. More than that, over 20% of their farmers live in poverty. 

The solution? Instead of continuing to import more limes, Ab InBev partnered with local gulfs, local authorities, and lime farmers to provide them with the most advanced knowledge to switch the high-quality lime farming and expand their yields.


Dream big

Ab InBev started out as a small Brazilian Brewer that had this big dream and became the biggest brewer in the world. AbInBev is now responsible for 1 in every 4 beers sold in the world. So, Richard Oppy has seen the power of dreaming big. When it comes to marketing, he takes a ‘creativity-first’ approach, and he says always trust your gut. 

He acknowledges the challenges marketers face, “You probably get the question from your CEO, or your CFO, ‘So what? You’re winning awards but is it actually doing anything to drive top line growth?’”. But the Ab InBev results speak for themselves: in 2022 and 2023, they have achieved all time high revenues.

Richard leaves the crowd with this: One of the most important things is having unwavering belief. Belief in your people. Belief in your processes, believe in your partners and most importantly believe yourself, and believe your ideas, because there's always going to be data that says it's not going to work. There's always going to be naysayers that's going to tell you it's not going to work. So, you need to believe, and you need to have conviction.”

Check out our behind-the-scenes discussion with Richard from RESET:

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