Firstly, a beverage lesson from history for the benefit of our younger readers. Babycham was a very popular drink in the 60s and 70s, almost exclusively with a female clientele seduced by its tepidly glamorous cocktail-bar image and half-association with champagne.
It seemed to matter little that Babycham was technically closer to a cider than a champagne and tasted something akin to cat urine run through a Soda Stream; the nefarious power of marketing successfully pitched it as an exotic and classy product. This admittedly was not difficult in an era when society deemed it acceptable for women to drink only port and lemon or milk stout.
So what has this to do with football? Well, BTLM recently stumbled upon an unexpected Babycham association with the sport. This happened back in the late 1960s in Belgium with the Brussels club Royal Racing White, a forerunner to RWD Molenbeek.
These were times before shirt sponsors of course, but Babycham appears to have taken on a role as a significant club sponsor of some sort with their brand name plastered all over the players’ training tops and their advertising prominent on pitch side hoardings.
Back in an era when football was almost exclusively a masculine, beer-drenched, working class pursuit, there’s something quite delicious about dour-faced professional footballers promoting an acutely feminine sparkling aperitif with faux middle class aspirations. We like to imagine supporters on the terraces hurling unrepeatable abuse at opposing players in between delicate sips of Babycham from the company’s trademark petite bottles, purchased from a kiosk at the club’s Stade Fallon ground
That a marketing department thought football was an ideal promotional vehicle for a product like Babycham is perplexing. Its advertising typically and spuriously suggested this was the drink to be seen quaffing at exclusive parties on yachts in Monte Carlo harbour, not in rain-sodden Belgium at the run-down ground of a middling football club not long for this world. At least we have some photographic memories of this oddest of commercial pairings and we felt duty bound to share them here with you.
Picture acknowledgements are due to the http://www.rwdm-fcbrussels.be site.