Why Carlsberg thinks Grey is the agency that can offset its profit slump

The Drum 15 Oct 2020 06:45

After spending the past few years going back to its roots, Carlsberg has named Grey Europe as its global advertising partner for the Carlsberg and Tuborg brands. The Drum spoke to global director Julian Marsili and Grey Europe president Eduardo Maruri as they toast their new global partnership.

Pouring beers for 178 years, Carlsberg has probably done some of the best advertising in the world.

But its latter years have been spent reflecting on what role it wants to play on the global stage at a time when interest in lager is at an all-time low and punters crave colourful craft beer and ale alternatives.

Back in 2017, ‘The Danish Way‘ introduced drinkers to Carlsberg as a grown-up, sophisticated beer and focused on the brand‘s Danish heritage, a departure from its former, more irreverent spots. After that, Carlsberg rebranded using a clean, modern take on its famed wordmark, as part of its drive to make the brand more ‘premium‘ – which included a caviar beer.

“We completely reappraised the brand by going back to what our roots were. We looked at our personality and point of difference, and it basically gave a global reset to the brand. We were just looking for a creative agency partner that could help us do that along the way,“ explains Julian Marsili, global director for the Carlsberg brand.

“We’ve been working with Fold7 globally, where the account was born out of the UK. And we were very happy with that,“ explains Marsili. “However, along the way, we met Grey.“

“This has been over a year of dating before the marriage, and the dating was fantastic,“ says Eduardo Maruri, president and chief exec of Grey Europe, and vice-president global creative board.

The announcement arrives amid a tumultuous year for all Carlsberg‘s markets, as it had to jump over hurdles placed in its way by the pandemic. Closed bars and an unnaturally sport-free summer have really dented sales, and back in August, the Danish brewer issued a profit warning for 2020 – warning its operating profits had fallen 8.9% in the first half of 2020, and predicting an overall drop of between 10% and 15% for the whole year. At the time, chief exec Cees ’t Hart said it was taking measures to adapt.

“With ’adopt a keg’ we showed we could think outside the box, even for specific situations like Covid-19,“ says Maruri. “We will take creativity up a notch up from an already good position, and the next level in ideas that can live and travel fast and can be implemented in any market.“

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CarlsbergJulian MarsiliGrey Europe
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