Kronenbourg's advertising strategy has, over the years, always seemed a little lost to me - like the brand doesn't really know what it wants to be. It's arty - or maybe not. It's French - OK, but does anyone care? It's got small bubbles in it - oh, puh-leease.
The new campaign launches this weekend, and it's based on the idea of slowing things down. I'm not yet convinced by this as a strategy for a mainstream premium lager - it feels more like ale or stout territory. But as this is what I used to do for a living, I can take a decent stab at post-rationalising how they got here.
They're not talking to bitter or stout drinkers but to people who almost always drink lager. Lager has become commoditised, boring, indifferent an interchangeable. It has a loutish image. Kronenbourg is positioning itself as a more thoughtful, grown up brand. Its French heritage allows it to do this, because French cafe culture is slower and more laid back than British pub culture. How am I doing, BBH guys? I've almost convinced myself here.
So, on to the ad itself:
French face culture is slower - just look at the effect it's had on Lemmy (who, famously, was recently told that he had to slow down by doctors, now he's in his sixties and suffering from illness. His manager famously said, 'He is slowing down - he now takes ice in his Jack Daniels'.)
The fact that Ace of Spades is a classic song and actually works well as a blues number stops the ad from becoming a cheap, one-shot joke, and the docu-realism of the way it's shot means it cleverly navigates the thorny issue of doing slow, mellow and mature in a way that's stylish and contemporary.
And there's a longer, showreel version of it here:
I'm almost there on the strategy of Kronenbourg doing slow, but not quite. But never mind that - the ad itself shows there are still great things that beer advertising can do, and I think it will be successful.
The track will soon be available to download. You can follow the campaign on Twitter http://twitter.com/K1664slow , where they're asking people to help pull together the ultimate slowed down playlist.