Quality ale finds its market through taste and product differentiation rather than heavy investment in advertising. When confronted, however, with the 50 shades of piss on offer in the typical supermarket lager aisle or in the neon-soaked glare of the chain bar, the average punter may require a guiding hand on the shoulder.
In recent times, though, beer advertising has lost its way. There have been very few memorable campaigns or even one-off spots. And forget innovation. AKQA’s Heineken Star Player aside, brewers would rather be seen sipping Babycham at the office party than taking risks with short-term volume sales.
Creature's selection surely can't fail to improve on the recent bland mood film work that has supported Carling
Perhaps, though, the recent lager-related news dispatches bode well for advertising in the sector. In the absence of new Stella Artois work (dependably strong), the current Kronenbourg 1664 and Foster’s spots are enjoyable enough and Carlsberg has appointed Santo to develop an "iconic" positioning for its brand. Its marketers should hope that this activity doesn’t fall flat in the bar room of banality that houses the advertising from international lager brands.
I’m more encouraged by Molson Coors’ decision to appoint Creature London to its Carling ad account. Creature has created campaigns with flair for the likes of Adidas Originals, but it’s no small risk to choose such a young agency ahead of more established pitch contenders.
Creature’s selection over larger rivals might not guarantee a return to the heyday of the Carling Black Label ads, which peaked in the late 80s with spots such as "Dambusters" created by WCRS, but it surely can’t fail to improve on the recent bland mood film work that has supported the brand.
While critics would say that this anodyne tone perfectly suited the product, Carling needs something more dynamic if it is to preserve its status as the number-one UK beer brand. The real-ale fan within me might like it to fail, but I can’t help wishing Creature well.
Danny Rogers is away