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'Charles' helps SA overcome alcohol ban

Pakistani cricket fans watching the current tour by South Africa may be wondering why "Charles" is such a favourite with members of the squad.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2003 11:31 IST

Pakistani cricket fans watching the current tour by South Africa may be wondering why "Charles" is such a favourite with members of the squad, since the name appears boldly on each of their shirts.

After all, not even a South African fan would be able to find a company here called "Charles", which could be a possible sponsor for the local team.

"Charles" is actually an innovative ploy devised by the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) and its major sponsor, South African Breweries (SAB), to help gain some mileage when the team tours countries such as Pakistan, where advertising of alcoholic products is banned.

In South Africa, "Charles" is well known to beer-drinkers as Charles Glass, the supposed founder of SAB here in the 1880s.

SAB has exploited this very well in local advertising in support of its Castle Lager brand, so for locals, "Charles" is synonymous with Castle Lager.

While the South African side sports the Castle Lager brand whenever they play internationally, this could not be done in Pakistan.

So to ensure that there was still some benefit for the sponsor with South African audiences, "Charles" was embroidered into their shirts for the tour.

With no immediate link between "Charles" and Castle Lager for any Pakistanis, UCBSA and SAB seem to have come up with a clever way of ensuring brand identification locally while still respecting the religious sensitivities of a Muslim country where alcohol advertising is banned.

The Pakistan Cricket Board had no problem approving the use of "Charles" on the team's gear.

The South African national rugby team used a similar strategy when they toured France last year. France, although not a Muslim country, also has severe restrictions on advertising alcoholic beverages.

First Published: Oct 21, 2003 11:31 IST