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Carlsberg Advertising KFC

Why is Carlsberg promoting tweets branding its beer the 'rancid piss of Satan'?


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

April 11, 2019 | 6 min read

Carlsberg has taken a leaf out of KFC’s playbook and is promoting tweets ridiculing the taste of its own beer ahead of a yet-to-be-announced marketing stunt. Two of the promoted tweets compared its lager to 'piss', while another likened the taste to a corpse's stale bathwater.

Carlsberg Piss

Carlsberg running ads criticising the taste of its beer

Carlsberg UK promoted five tweets from the public this week disparaging its product. Twitter users were quick to notice the unusual activity coming from the brand and some suggested a hack had taken place.

It is a bold move from a brand spending significant sums to reposition itself as ‘premium’ in the UK. Driving this is 'The Danish Way' campaign fronted by Mads Mikkelsen costing at least £15m. The booze brand took the decision to move upmarket in the UK after its England FA sponsorship expired in 2018.

The stunt is reminiscent of a campaign from KFC late in November. The fast-food brand promoted tweets criticising its fries – before unveiling a new recipe in a UK-wide advertising campaign. Alas, several tabloids reported that customers hated the new recipe too, showing how dangerous a play Carlsberg has embraced.

Carlsberg, according to Twitter’s transparency report, promoted five tweets, while two were blocked for violating Twitter’s Ad Policies.

The two blocked ads likened the beer to 'piss'.

Tweets asking for permission to use the tweets from March show that the brand has been long preparing for the campaign it is laying the groundwork for.

The three remaining tweets promoted by the brand are as follows:

The conspiracy theorists in The Drum have noted a connection between the three live tweets – which referenced ‘naan’, ‘stale breadsticks’ and ‘nan’ – a bread-thread bringing them together. The theory, however, falls flat when incorporating the 'piss' content.

Carlsberg sources have confirmed to The Drum that it does indeed have marketing shenanigans in the works and that the promoted tweets will soon pay off. It comes at a time when the brewer is looking to build the profile of its "unfiltered" brand, a Danish-style Pilsner beer brewed using naturally-occurring yeast.

As it stands, there is enough evidence out there to suggest it is 'Probably' launching a 'new brew'. It recently relaunched its Pilsner product in the UK.

It's an interesting change of tone from the brand that is fondly remembered for its long-running 'Probably' work.

Earlier this week handmade cosmetics brand Lush announced its departure from social media. This latest campaign from Carlsberg shows how bold brands have to be to cut through in the space.

Carlsberg Advertising KFC

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