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Celebrate something older than Christ.

Most people hate the taste of beer to begin with. It is, however, a prejudice.

Winston Churchill

If beer has never really been your thing, take heed from one of the most successful drinkers of our time. And were he alive today, Winston would be gripping a pint handle with the best of us.

That’s right, today is International Beer Day!

The mere mention is enough to wet one’s whistle. IBD is a global celebration of beer, and a serious celebration at that, given it has an acronym. It takes place anywhere that has people and oxygen. That is to say there is no corner on earth where beer is not recognised in one form or another. Unlike say, mocktails. Actually that’s harsh, I’ve never had a mocktail. I guess that’s my point.

Celebratory wishes like ān bēi, salud, na zdravi and cheers are hollered amongst a plethora of linguistic variants on the first Friday of August each year.

So, whilst simultaneously doffing my cap and necking another lager in appreciation (infinitely harder than the head tap / tummy rub thing believe me) let’s take a look at a few launch campaigns that has bucked the beer formula and rammed home what we already know about beer advertising; it continues to produce a wonderfully colourful canvas of ideas.

Big kegs such as Heineken, Bud, VB, Carlton and Carlsberg still dominate the traditional TVC but in recent years, with the popularity of independent breweries and craft beer increasing, launching beer into market has seen brands and agencies look at more cunning strategies to cut through the traditional big budget channel mix.

I’ve syphoned a drop from the vat of recent beer launches from each of the Five by Five territories – the US, UK and Australia/NZ. Each bastions of big beer advertising, and all now looking at unique ways to flog the wet stuff.

DB EXPORT

If drinking beer wasn’t an attractive proposition already. Colenso BBDO created a campaign for DB Export with an irresistible appeal. Drink enough beer, and you can save the world. This Cannes Grand Prix winning work took beer making waste material such as yeast and turned it into biofuel. ‘Brewtroleum’ (yes it actually made your car go) was then delivered to pumps around the country in an outdoor campaign that helped DB Export become the fastest growing beer brand in NZ.

CAMDEN HELLS LAGER

In the UK’s huge beverage market new breweries and craft beer have a hard time being heard so Camden Hells Lager focused on what makes Camden, Camden. This  meant the “vibrant, diverse, inclusive and anarchic spirit of the brewery’s home—the London borough of Camden,” described as “a place where everyone is welcome, anything goes and people can be themselves,” according to creative agency The Garage Soho.

It’s refreshing attitude and visual identity seen in the outdoor helped it stand apart and ooze defiance and progressive convention. The ‘Raise Hells’ line bucked established industry mollycoddling whilst the shorter TV spots cemented it’s liberal attitude, focusing on characters usually ignored in conventional mainstream beer advertising. It definitely takes a spot in our International Beer Day line up. 

SUPERCRITICAL BEER

When it comes to North America I couldn’t look past the new climate manifesting now that marijuana is becoming legalised in some US states and Canada. It was only a matter of time before the plant found its way into America’s favourite beverage: beer. So whilst this is not strictly launch marketing, it has a further reaching influence across the industry. Now that is a launch!

Californian brewer Lagunitas was bought by Heineken last year and has since released an IPA infused with marijuana. It’s called Supercritical, and it’s one of many new pot infused craft beers appearing across the US and Canada. There’s a catch however — the beer won’t actually get you high. It doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in weed. But when have the facts got in the way of a good story.

Beer launches should be taken very very seriously, looking at the arrival of any new brew as another chapter in the great anthology of beer. Be party to the story, after all, we’ve been drinking it since 3400 B.C. It’s no bandwagon.

International Beer Day: http://internationalbeerday.com

By Craig Bailey
Executive Creative Director

Let’s launch something together. Get in touch.