Inside Peroni’s plans to inject ‘informality’ into its portfolio
The beer brand’s new lighter lager, Stile Capri, is its first brand extension in its 60-year history. We talk to global marketing manager Mike O’Donoghue about his plans to widen Peroni’s appeal while maintaining the premium positioning of its master brand.
Peroni Stile Capri’s ‘The Taste That Takes You There’ / Peroni
The intention for new Mediterranean-inspired lager Stile Capri is to lean into master brand Peroni Nastro Azzurro while introducing “informality” into the Peroni portfolio, ensuring it is considered an everyday beverage, says global marketing manager Mike O’Donoghue.
“We noted that, for some consumers and especially younger consumers, they felt that Peroni could sometimes be a bit formal.”
And so O’Donoghue and his marketing team had a lengthy debate about what the words formal and informal really meant, coming to the conclusion that an “informal beer” was something in a six-pack that you would take to the park with friends, while research showed that Peroni Nastro Azzurro was thought of as more of an “occasion” beer, the kind you would take to a dinner party or have at home as an aperitivo.
The global light beer market was worth $289bn in 2022 and is on course to grow by $340bn by 2028 according to Market Data Forecast. O’Donoghue credits its size and growth to younger, more health-conscious consumers, and thinks there is a gap in the market for a quality brewer.
“While there are large Mexican brands and American brands playing in this space, they’re not known for quality. From an easy-drinking, light-lager-in-the-sunshine perspective, there is room for a brand to bring a credible product story and quality credentials to this space.”
Launching Stile Capri is the €20m ‘The Taste That Takes You There’ brand platform, with ads featuring various scenarios of Italians taking any opportunity they can to lounge in the sun and enjoy a bottle of beer. “We wanted it to be a little more informal, so using humor as a creative device is a major part of the strategy for that. It still very much feels like Peroni Nastro Azzurro, in being premium, but with wit through a visual gag that that you wouldn’t have seen previously.”
As Peroni’s first brand extension in its entire history, O’Donoghue says the marketing has to walk a “fine line” between maintaining the quality and premium nature of the master brand while continuing to be relevant for a wide audience of people.
“There were, naturally, lots of questions from our marketers across the globe about what this means for the core brand. How would they activate together? What’s the tone of voice? When do they join up and when do they go different ways?”
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Stile Capri’s summer festival push
The launch campaign dropped on June 5 and runs across TV, social media and digital in the UK, Italy, Hungary and Romania. While TV still plays a big role for Peroni as a mass-reach channel, O’Donoghue acknowledges that inflationary prices and the beer’s younger target audience had weighted the media balance towards social and experiential.
It has put major budget behind sponsoring summer events such as the BST Hyde Park concert series in the UK, the Ryder Cup in Italy and music festivals including Neversea in Romania and Sziget in Hungry. There will also be brand-owned events, including one hosted on the island of Capri and another in London where Jax Jones will be DJing.
The marketing team has intentionally created the campaign to be platform agonistic, which O’Donoghue says is a first in Peroni’s history. “We wanted a core creative idea that made sense no matter the media format it is set in, because we have multiple markets with entirely different media ecosystems. We absolutely, as a group of global marketers, have to start with a core creative idea that can live across any media format or media channel and still come to life in an authentic way in our local markets and media plan.”
Peroni’s overall ambition, says O’Donoghue, is to become one of the top 10 global beer brands by volume by the year 2030. It plans to do this by expanding its global distribution, building out its ‘Live Every Moment’ brand platform and using marketing to improve its saliency, as well as through innovations such as the Capri launch and its zero-alcohol offering.