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 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'.
Thank you for responding to my like.
I am still confused as to how you will use my quote regarding Carlsberg as the rancid piss of Satan in an effective advert but, by all means, feel free. ♀️ https://t.co/oY6iFmcJG8— •S• (@Afterglow85) March 22, 2019
@CarlsbergUK adverts are top, shame the beer tastes like cat piss— Adam Savage (@Asausage89) January 29, 2016
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:
my pint of carlsberg tastes like naan bread— K H A N (@JamayalKhan) August 25, 2013
carlsberg tastes like stale breadsticks— harleigh (@sharpdarts_) June 20, 2018
Our generation have trust issues because we were all raised on those awesome adverts saying Carlsberg is the best lager in the world only to finally taste the shit and realise it’s like drinking the bath water that your nan died in.— Roy (@roystar11) November 3, 2018
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.
Well... Keep your eyes peeled on our account from next week and you might just get lucky #newbrew— Carlsberg UK (@CarlsbergUK) April 9, 2019
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.