10 Mar 11 Obituary for ‘Mr Jaegermeister’, marketing trailblazer
Jaegermeister fans this weekend should raise a glass to a man who not only transformed a little-known tipple into a top-selling liqueur, but also pioneered football shirt sponsorship. Guenter Mast, who died last week of heart failure aged 84, turned the herbal liqueur, a secret mixture of 56 different fruits, roots and herbs, from an acquired taste and a winter warmer for German hunters into a global phenomenon.
Its slightly medicinal tang, viscous texture and powerful kick has propelled the potent brown potion to number eight on the list of the top 100 spirits according to Impact International.
Last year, 85 million squat green bottles of the stuff were sold, doubtless leaving many times that number with sore heads.
Hailed in the German press as a “marketing genius”, Jaegermeister’s current boss, Paolo Dell’Antonio described Mast as “without question one of the top businessmen our country has ever produced.”
Due in large part to Mast’s innovative advertising flair, the firm went from a esmall liqueur manufacturer in the town of Wolfenbuettel in central Germany, to a global drinks giant present in more than 80 countries.
But he didn’t just transform the company, he was also a trailblazer in the field of sports advertising.
Mast’s masterstroke was in the invention of football shirt advertising. In 1973, he clinched what is widely accepted to be the world’s first strip deal with his local club, Eintracht Braunschweig.
A good four years before such advertising kicked off in England, Eintracht Braunschweig were proudly sporting Jaegermeister’s “stag’s head with beaming cross” logo on their shirts, starting a trend that endures in most sports.