beer in fiction / tv marketing

Let There Be Beer 2.0

Last year, big players in the beer industry banded together to run a campaign called Let There Be Beer.

Its ostensible aim was to raise the profile of beer in general terms but, in practice, it ended up being a series of excruciatingly bald product placement opportunities for those who’d provided the funding, e.g. Carlsberg.

As far as we can tell, the public were indifferent — we didn’t see any mention of it among our ‘not beer’ friends on Facebook, for example — and beer geeks, on the whole, found it rather reprehensible. Regulators weren’t keen, either, which seems to have been the final nail in its coffin.

Now, just in time for Halloween, it’s risen from its grave, re-invented as There’s a Beer for That, and vastly improved. Or to put that another way, even though we’re very much not the intended audience, we don’t hate it.

What is the intended audience? People who were moved by this bread advert, or this one for curry sauce, or this kind of thing for John Lewis, we would guess. That is, people less snarky than hardcore beer geeks tend to be.

There’s nothing ground-breaking about it in the wider scheme of things, but it does show ordinary people of both genders and all ages enjoying beer alone, in company, in the pub, at home, with food, or with a book — the kinds of images that mainstream TV programming consistently fails to present.

The image that leapt out at us (above) is of a goblet of (presumably) Belgian beer, the like of which we reckon last made an appearance on British TV c.1990 in Michael Jackson’s The Beer Hunter TV show.

13 replies on “Let There Be Beer 2.0”

I actually quite liked it. I particularly like the “hipster walks into a pub” scene – it would have been nice to have an “old git walks into a craft beer bar” scene (aka me, most Saturdays) to complement it, but you can’t have everything.

Another very small niggle – would it have killed them to name a couple more styles (e.g. that Belgian)? “With ales, pales, amber and pils” is a start, but it leaves so much out! Not just weird-beard styles, either (“With reds, sours, lambic and gose…”). The great British beer-drinking public was necking huge quantities of porter and mild at one time, and a fair amount of Burton for that matter.

Interesting that the launch left Total Matt feeling so depressed. The actual video doesn’t bother me at all – I’d go so far as to say it’s what LTTB should have been all along.

Given the generic nature of what they’re trying to advertise (“beer is nice”), I think it’s a pretty decent job.

(although just about anything would be better than the last “have a Carling with your bbq” effort…)

Are Guinness (Diageo) among the sponsors? If so, surprising that there isn’t a shot of something generically stouty.

Nope. Diageo are not among the Brewers Alliance/Sponsor list. The lack of anything dark was noted by other commenters. Notice no Dubbels, Dunkels, Black IPAs, Porters or even english strong ales etc.

I like the ad, for the simple reason that we have a positive beer image on the telly without any sexist/boorish crap, that celebrates beer for its intrinsics.

But I don’t see this as having much impact, and other commenters have been more critical.

The beer scene is changing on the ground, in tasting/pairing rooms, brewery tours, festivals and meet the brewer events. The craft end of the spectrum is really kicking it here. It is having a big impact. Some of my younger associates are just as likely to be seen at a brewery/tap room on a saturday night, as at a night club. (the beer is well priced and better, the DJs are just as good, dress code more relaxed and it is still about 50:50 men and women).

Wetherspoons are likely to have a much bigger impact on mainstream beer perception. They are really pushing it hard, they are stocking an interestingly diverse selection, its at a price point that allows people to experiment.

I quite liked that wee vid, made me all nostalgic for home (easily done admittedly, even the Greene King ad did that). The message is bang on as well, there is a beer for any occasion, and that beer is whatever the hell you feel like drinking.

I was at the launch event last night and enjoyed the advert then, as I do now. There’s also a 30 second version of it which is basically a shorter edit of the same scenes.

The hipster / old man scene is for me the best bit, it’s kind of the heart of advert for me.

I think it is a VAST improvement on the previous advert and to have that much money promote beer in such a general way is really powerful.

Also… Camden Hells, Landlord and Pilsner Urquell being handed out at the launch. That’s prettty amazing when you look at who’s stumping up the money for the campaign.

I like it.

Snarky is right about some of the outright cynicism about this in my Twitter feed.

Beer has been a declining sector overall, mainly under pressure from wine and young people drinking less.

I was skeptical initially, but pleased to see that the end result can only be good for beer as a whole.

This isn’t a them and us situation, it’s an all of us situation. If it gets more people drinking beer then that’s an opportunity to convert even more people to good beer.

But then the good beer will be mainstream and the cynics can snark some more.

Well, its not quite as bad as the previous one, although I still think promoting a drink like beer – that is largely drunk by itself – as a drink that specifically drunk with food is kind of missing the point. Most people are not going to drink it with food.

and it still doesn’t actually tell people anything they might not have already known. Why not get people talking about all the different styles of beer they like?

If you are not familiar with the rules governing alcohol ads then I suggest you hit the Clearcast web site for an education in how hard it is to make an ad that is promoting a category and not a brand.

The food in the ad allows it to get around falling foul of 19.2 in the code.

Creatively you can see that the direction is to those who are not hardcore beerists. It’s trying to in just 60 secs give a whirlwind stop of the uk and have a few moments that the majority might either recognise or just enjoy.

The ad is full of shorthand. That’s the only way you can get over such a big communication task in that amount of time. There are juxtapositions like posh man in posh flat eating cheese on toast with knife and fork. The cake judge looks like a cake judge!

For those having a go at it I would guess its much harder to make an ad like this than it looks.

Good on them for trying to talk about all beer in such a high profile way.

Comments are closed.