May 13, 2011

Aussie Beer Ads -
The Real Fair Dinkum Deal

Everybody has seen those Fosters beer ads which promote their brand as "Australian for Beer." You would think Fosters is a popular brand of beer in Australia.

Frankly speaking as an Australian, I can say that everybody knows about Fosters but I don't know anybody who actively seeks to drink it. It's viewed as more of a beer for exporting - "fosterizing the world" and not so much for actual consumption.

As a nation of beer-sculling larrikins, the Australian beer market is highly competitive. Likewise, the market for Australian beer advertisements. These are usually divided into the different regional and state beers which dominate the market.

There were some classic beer TV ads from the 1980's. From the jingoistic Victoria Bitter ad which ended with the line, "matter of fact I've got it now" (from Victoria) to Queensland's XXXX brand beer (pronounced fourex) with the tagline, "Australians wouldn't give a XXXX for anything else."

Another recent viral video by Victoria Bitter (VB) called "The Regulars" is an "ad for the every-man" and speaks directly to and for VB's target audience. It was launched at the start of summer, 2009, by ad agency Droga5.

Other memorable campaigns include Tasmania's Cascade "Big Cans" and the more recent and disturbing "Tongue" ad for Tooheys Dry. I'm not sure if crawling detached tongues really makes me want to try a Tooheys.  

But there has been a series of TV ads in recent years for Carlton Draught that has really got people reaching for their beer.

It began to take off with a viral video named the "big ad" in 2005 - which eventually ended up on TV. Carlton  Draught's "Made from Beer" campaign by ad agency, George Patterson Y&R, won numerous awards and grew to an epic popularity worldwide.

This parodied both the big blockbuster Lord of the Rings movies released earlier in the decade as well as a memorable "Global Face" TV ad for British Airways back in 1989.

The song parodied in "Big Ad" is Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana. The production had a cast of approximately 300 extras. The rest were added digitally with CGI.

This was a tough act to follow but in 2006, Y&R launched "Flashbeer" - which silenced the critics again.

Another parody - this time the iconic final dance scene to the 1980's dance movie classic "Flashdance." The song from the movie is Giorgio Moroder & Irene Cara's "Flashdance... What A Feeling." The popularity of this ad also sent it into the viral halls of fame.

So how did Carlton Draught follow this up?

In 2010, they turned to Clemenger BBDO - who continued the "Made from Beer" tradition with the TV ad "Slow Mo."

The ad makes classic and iconic "slice of life" scenes inside any Aussie pub look almost classy and tasteful with the slow motion effect and the accompaniment of a "Nessun Dorma" parody. If you listen closely the words have been changed - not everyone picks this up the first time.

These three ads have cemented the Carlton Draught brand into the traditional Australian beer advertising narrative.

To the marketing team at Carlton Draught, I say, "good on ya" for a tip-top effort.

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