A few weeks ago, a tweet comparing Carlsberg beer to “rancid piss” made the rounds of social media. Criticism of
beer anything is not rare on social media; what was odd was the fact that Carlsberg, themselves, were promoting said tweet. The move was part of a larger ad campaign to push the beer’s recent makeover under the unusual tagline, “Probably Not The Best Beer In The World.”
The campaign, developed by the Fold7 agency for the Danish brewer, began with the “piss” remark along with a slew of other negative comments about the suds. Then, the marketing machine pivoted to explain that the brand was listening and a changed beer is here.
The pilsner’s composition was completely revamped from “head to hop” improving taste to facilitate “quality over quantity” according to the company. Likewise, the packaging also received a new look with some souped up label design as well as a eco-friendly measures like c2c certified inks, a more recyclable bottle, and a “snap pack” designed to cut the brewer’s plastic use in half.
“Drinker’s interest in mainstream lager has waned because, though the world has moved on, the mainstream category hasn’t,” said Carlsberg UK’s VP marketing, Liam Newton. “At Carlsberg UK, we lost our way. We focused on brewing quantity, not quality; we became one of the cheapest, not the best. In order to live up to our promise of being ‘probably the best beer in the world’, we had to start again.”
The PR push will also be followed by a price increase commensurate with the overall direction of the industry towards premium brands.
“We say premiumisation but we’re not suddenly going to try to be a super niche premium brand,” Newton told Marketing Weekly. “The competitors are a combination of the standard and the standard plus brands. It is still Carling and Foster’s, two of the biggest brands in the market. But it is also looking at brands like Amstel, Coors Light, Bud Light within that competitive set.”
So far, the plan seems the be faring well. The brewer touted a recent survey of UK beer drinkers; the study concluded that 59% of Brits polled prefer the new taste over the old.