Amstel Budweiser Carlsberg

A Refreshing Change


By David Milligan-Croft, Creative Director / Strategist / Writer

July 24, 2011 | 3 min read

I’ve had the good fortune to work on a few beer brands in my time: Carlsberg; Budweiser; Harp; Amstel and even Coors Light.

Mr Van Damme

But this little offering from Coors Light featuring Mr Van Damme has really got my goat. You see, the strategy is: ‘The world’s most refreshing beer.’

How long are ad agency planners and strategists going to flog this withered old strategy for beer brands?

Surely brand managers themselves must want to at least try and differentiate themselves from all the other ‘refreshing’ beer brands?

While I was at DDB I worked on Carlsberg. As we all know the ‘Probably’ strategy was about the product being premium tasting.

I then went to work for BBDO and worked on Budweiser and Harp. The Head of Planning disappeared for six months and came back with a strategy for Harp which was that it was refreshing.

Stone the fucking crows. Genius. I’m only astounded that he came up with it in such a short space of time.

My granny could write a better strategy than that. (My granny was Planning Director at Saatchi’s, Nepal.)

Now this was back in the late 90’s and apparently things don’t seem to have moved on a great deal.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the pub because I’m thirsty. If I wanted to satiate my thirst I’d get a glass of water. I go to the pub to get pissed.

Even something like: ‘Hits the spot’, (as a strategy, not a strapline), alludes to refreshment but is also about satisfaction and taste. (Maybe Strongbow have already done this.)

Although the creative team at VCCP have had to work with a tired old strategy they’ve still managed to come up with a quite nicely written film. Not great, just a decent day at the office. But I’m sure they could have done a whole lot better had they had a decent strategy to work with in the first place.

I know you can’t do ads about getting pissed, the ASA won’t allow it – Damn them all to Hades! But let’s at least have a stab at coming up with a refreshing strategy. I don’t mean a strategy about refreshment, I mean refreshing as in, oh forget it…

Here’s one I prepared earlier with ‘big flavour’ as the strategy. I did want to do it as a building wrap, but I guess an adshell will suffice.

Amstel Budweiser Carlsberg

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