'No more shock factor': Carlsberg leans on keen, not mean, tweets as pilsner push matures

The Drum 03 Mar 2020 12:00

As Carlsberg UK's brave pilsner project enters year two, it has subverted its (in)famous mean tweets campaign to champion the new brew.

In April 2019, Carlsberg sowed confusion by promoting social media posts comparing its lager to “the rancid piss of Satan,” “cat piss,” “naan bread,” and “stale breadsticks” all to relaunch its lager as a pilsner.

Accompanying this last roll of the dice for a brand and category in decline (increased abstinence, competition, and premiumisation) was a take on Mean Tweets where staff hearts were broken with criticism of the mainstream lager.

‘Mean Tweets’ racked up 1.1m views on in the first 24 hours and around 15m all-in, serving a perfect springboard for a product launch. But now, negativity makes way for positivity as mean tweets become keen tweets. Liam Newton, vice president of marketing at Carlsberg UK, reflects on the campaign's transformation over the last 12 months.

“It will be quite hard to create the same impact as we did last year. It was such a new different idea. We were very brave to talk about the negative things people were saying.

Carlsberg isn’t trying to recapture lightning in a bottle. The language is more PG this time. Expletives are now merely hinted at - and then revealed as unorthodox praise for the new brew, much to the bemusement of staff.

The comms were conceived to drive consideration of the pilsner. Newton hopes that the continuity with the famous campaign will help get the message out.

Additionally, The Lake, the hero spot explaining the new brew to the public, has also been trimmed. Carlsberg’s admittance of wrong-doing is removed to now focus fully on the new brew.

The campaign launched across TV, social, broadcast, out-of-home and digital.

As per Ipsos research, ‘brand consideration’, ‘preference’ and ‘recommendation’ scores are now “significantly” ahead of lead rivals Carling and Fosters, according to the brewer. The new brew is seeing more people consider Carlsberg as ‘their first choice’, and the frequency of consumption is growing at “significant” levels.

On-trade has been bumped up and has seen 3% value growth, from a stark decline before the campaign, the new glasses and fonts are helping it stand out in the pubs. 89% of shoppers who tried the Pilsner said they were likely to buy it again (summer 2019). However, the off-trade results have not been so positive.

Newton has high hopes for the appeal of the SnapPack, its sustainable (and cool) solution to cut plastic waste in its packaging, which will soon feature on Brooklyn and San Miguel.

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