Social Media Buttons



What's new?

What's new?
Pledges for my new beer book - Miracle Brew - are now closed. Book is out 1st June and available for pre-order here.
I've been accused of attacking cask ale. Here's what I actually wrote - decide for yourselves.
News about my next books!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Hurrah! A Decent Lager Ad Campaign!

Pilsner Urquell has a new poster campaign out - at Waterloo station the walkway between the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines is completely taken up by posters based on the theme that it's the detail that matters.
They're not going to win any creativity awards or convert millions to drinking Pilsner Urquell, but they're doing something really important and deserve to succeed.

Each execution shows a perfect drinking moment: one is the bloke on the sofa with a curry ordered, the wife out for the evening and a great DVD about to start.  Another is a class reunion with the boys really on form.  Another is a couple with the kids in bed and a long, relaxed evening ahead.  

In each, the details are pointed out ('DVD: Bladerunner, Director's Cut'; 'tomorrow: a long way off').  And then it's the detail in the beer that's equally important ('head: European': 'flavour: full-bodied').  

I love this because there's a misconception among large brewers that mainstream drinkers are scared of flavour, and this is not true.  It's telling people about a premium lager that has genuine heritage and tastes of something.

But more than that, what they've managed to do here is portray a positive drinking experience and get away with it.  In each scenario, alcohol - beer - is an integral part of a perfect moment.  The drink is definitely helping the flow of banter or the curve of relaxation, and yet no-one could argue that each scenario shows responsible drinking - there's suggestion of a beery buzz, but no hint of drinking to excess.

That might not sound like much, but in today's hysterical anti-drink environment, it's almost forbidden to suggest that the reason we drink is that we like the way it makes us feel.  It must have taken many iterations to get the balance of tone right, and no doubt someone somewhere will be offended by the suggestion that an adult can have a couple of beers without beating up an old lady and then dying a slow, lingering death from liver disease.  But well done to SABMiller for putting a stake in the ground on behalf of proper drinking.


Jeff Pickthall said...

I wasn't aware of the ads; perhaps they've worked subliminally. In the beer aisle at Tesco yesterday I thought "I'll have an Urquell for a change". Crikey.

atj said...

Yeah I saw the ads yesterday as well and they were striking enough for me to lift my eyes from the floor where I’m usually looking for dropped pennies. Like Jeff I had a PU moment in Tesco the other day as well.

BLTP said...

Is it the directors cut with voice over or the one where they explain the origami unicorn or am I missing the point....

Kempicus said...

Good ad, most beer ads in NZ are along the same lines as Stella or appeal to the no flavour alcohol delivery device crowd....sad!

Boak said...'s good, but they missed a trick by not including any women in their perfect drinking moments.

It would be nice to see, just once, an advert for beer where a woman wasn't a nag, a bimbo, or celebrated by her absence.

I'm sure you'll know more about this than me, being in the biz and all, but a lot of the success of Magners must have been down to its marketing to women. Why aren't beer marketers trying to tap into this?

Pete said...

Hi Boak,

You're absolutely right - but there were about four or five different ones on Waterloo station and at least two of them did feature women - one a married couple and one a mixed sex group of friends. It just happens that this one is the one I was able to get hold of.

I think you're right - beer marketers do miss a trick with women - but it's very difficult to pull off. If you overtly say 'this is a beer for women' (which is what lager did in the 1960s) both sexes tend to treat to with suspicion - women don't need a beer specially created for them and its patronising to suggest they do. I think it's more a case of dialling down the laddishness of beer advertising rather than overtly saying it's for women. The other PU ads not shown here do that really well.