Carlsberg to take ‘irreverent’ spin on its brand into stores with shopper marketing drive

Buoyed by the popularity of several stunts this year, Carlsberg is taking this newly-installed approach to marketing its brand into stores in a bid to come up with smarter ways to get people to pick it over rivals.

The brewer is pushing a different approach to shopper marketing in 2016 that will try to match how its brand is advertised to people in-store. Alcohol brands have long wrestled with this problem and are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade shoppers that they’re a premium alternative when the first thing many see when entering a store is those same brands on special offer or discounted.

Carlsberg’s response is to try and mix things up a bit in a similar way to how it’s done over the last 12 months with stunts like the beer dispensing outdoor poster and the launch of a male grooming line that feature products made from the beer. Shoppers can expect similar quirky sights when they travel down the alcohol aisle of their local supermarket, according to Carlsberg’s senior brand manager Dharmesh Rana.

The brewer has endured a tough 2015, like many of its peers, that’s seen it slash its workforce by 15 per cent and be delisted by Tesco amid ongoing declines. Group beer sales were down three per cent in the third quarter, which it blamed on tough trading conditions in Eastern Europe. Over nine months, beer volumes slumped four per cent.

Despite the testing times, the brewer is baking the changes to its marketing to boost its presence in-stores.

“We’ve seen some really positive results from all the activity this year,” Rana added. “Where we’ve been different this year is that we make sure that we put these kind of activities more closely to the point of purchase. You’ll start to see this type of activity in more retail environments where people have the chance to actually purchase our product as well as enjoy and consume them in cleverer ways.”

It marks the next phase of how Carlsberg reframes its ‘If Carlsberg did…’ strapline for those drinkers more likely to share and create their own content. The brewer brought the strapline back after four years because it found the phrase was still being used by people. Quirkier interpretations are being planned by the brand, all the while trying to not lose sight of the need to tie the idea back to beer.

“The key learning for us has been to keep it simple,” said Rana.”’If Carlsberg did’ is a broad campaign idea that can allow you to activate in lots of different spaces.”

He used Carlsberg’s last Fold7-created experiential push – a beer dispensing Christmas tree (see video) - to illustrate the point. “We’ve taken something traditional like a Christmas tree but tried to keep what we’re all about, which is beer, central to that theme,” added Rana.

There’s also the small matter of the UEFA European Championships that Carlsberg has to plan for. Being a sponsor, the beer has something big planned with Rana teasing it’s going to take a “completely different” approach. It will still stick to the brand’s tired and tested football formula albeit with a twist that will take on more of the irreverent tone from its wider marketing.

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