Feature

Probably the best pub in the world?

To bring its latest campaign to life, Carlsberg has created a 'off-grid' pub in the Cornish countryside that's built by strangers and powered by a waterfall.

Probably the best pub in the world?

In the middle of the Cornish countryside sits a wooden lodge. With no means of communicating with the outside world, it’s the perfect place to get away from city life. But before this starts to sound like a travel feature, there are a few things that set this site apart: a tap to pour your own pint of Carlsberg Export; a guide book on adopting a "hygge" lifestyle. And not forgetting the fact that it was built in five days by six strangers.

The permanent structure, powered by a nearby waterfall, is the latest part of Carlsberg’s "The Danish way" campaign devised by Fold7. It launched last year with a major rebrand and a film fronted by actor Mads Mikkelsen. The brand also ramped up its experiential marketing by working with Live Nation to set up camp at festivals, Liam Newton, vice-president for marketing at Carlsberg, says.

"If you’re trying to advocate the Danish way of life, you can only go so far with that in a traditional media context," Newton explains. "The more you do to actually get people to experience it themselves, and add the beer experience into it as well – I think it’s really important. It gives you an opportunity to have a more immersive experience of the brand."

To add more "depth" to the campaign, Fold7 came up with the idea of building a pub powered by a waterfall – a concept that Newton bought into right away. "The link with ‘The Danish way’ and carrying the momentum of the campaign, getting people together to build this pub and [building] their friendships and character, just felt like a great idea and something that no-one had ever done before," he says.

For Fold7, not relying on the primary channel – in this case, TV – meant that the team needed to move from "sharing the philosophy to getting people to experience the philosophy", as Ryan Newey, Fold7's founder and executive creative director, explains.

This needed to be more than a series of mood films. The creative team wanted the project to be "fresh", so every part of the process needed to be real. "What is unique here is that a lot of people are building pop-ups out of the way – for example, North Face in the Italian Alps – but they are not real and do not stay there," Verity Messett, head of content at Fold7, adds.

The idea itself rested on the audience that Carlsberg was trying to capture. "We thought: ‘Let’s do a better way to have a pub,'" Messett says. "The generation that Carlsberg is now talking to is not going to pubs any more. So we thought: 'How could it be better but through a Danish lens?' We took away the crowds, the queues and stripped it back to a well-crafted environment."

The task wasn’t something to be taken on lightly. Several partners were required to manage the build, not to mention searching for the right location and cast. "It was a very cross-disciplinary project, so everyone had to understand the different angles. We needed to get the balance of the shoot and build right," Messett adds.

The shoot and build was managed by production agency Armoury and Andrew Casher, founder of Hyperactive, Fold7’s experiential arm. "Part of the challenge was that we were building this with unskilled labour; all the strangers knew that they would be doing something physical," Casher says. "So it had to be designed in a way that it could be built in quick time."

As a result, architect Ben Huggins came up with a design that fit into the landscape but was also relatively easy to put together. "The most important part, apart from the Danish aspect, was to keep the trees, so we had to arrange the build around the trees," Messett explains.

Main picture credit: George Fielding