SABMiller : Stepping up to the bar

A temporary item in the primary navigation menu signposts the latest developments in on-going merger talks. 

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The feature

This week SABMiller, the second-largest brewing company in the world by sales, agreed ‘in principle’ to be acquired by AB InBev, the world’s largest. The US$104bn tie-up, if it goes ahead, will be the third biggest merger in history.

Talks have been going on for a month, so interest in the deal has been intense, presumably leading to a big spike in visits to SABMiller’s corporate website. In response, the company has created a temporary item on its primary navigation bar, ‘AB InBev Possible Offer’, directing visitors to a page within Investors with all of its statements since September on the potential deal.

The takeaway

Temporarily co-opting the navigation bar is a convenient way to signpost information on a significant, but transitory story. In the case of, this technique becomes that much more important because the merger reference in the menu is the only mention of the deal above the scroll line. (Otherwise visitors have to scroll down the page to an item in ‘Latest news’.)

Although visitors looking for further information on the deal will likely find the item by scanning the navigation bar, visibility could be improved. This is partly because it appears as the last item on the menu but also because the small, white font does not show up well against the background image on the home page. (It shows up better on internal pages.) When BP used a similar technique to signpost information on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it put the link in red so visitors could not miss it.

The information on the page itself is basic, if authoritative (a list of links to PDFs of all of the official company statements on the topic), but the top-level menu item is an effective way of getting people to the right place.
First published 14 October, 2015
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