The online universe has secured another significant scalp in its battle with the old-fashioned mainstream media, with Foster's becoming the first beer brand to abandon TV and do its advertising online.
For its reshaped campaign to tempt American beer guzzlers, the brand that touted itself as the "Australian for Beer" is switching its marketing efforts to the heavy.com, a music and video site aimed at young men that proclaims itself "the No 1 internet site for wasting time". No more will the ad breaks in broadcasts of international sports such as the Tour de France, Formula One motor racing and the world surfing tour feature spots boasting how Foster's is indeed the Australian word for beer.
The new format will still retain an Aussie flavour, using Foster's familiar "F" inside an "O" logo, above the new slogan of "Crack Open a Friendly", intended to cement the image of Australians as a matey, sociable bunch.
But the internet promotion will, to borrow a slogan from one of Foster's main European competitors, reach places other beers cannot. The heavy.com ads will carry a competition to win a date in Las Vegas with an Australian model by answering questions based on video clips about the 10 girls posted on the site.
Foster's advertising firm, Ogilvy & Mather, also plans what it calls a "viral" campaign, with commercials made to look like homemade videos which it hopes will create a word-of-mouth buzz about the brand.
Foster's move is yet more evidence of the trend of TV networks losing younger viewers and newspapers be-moaning a decline in advertising and young readers, emphasising the accelerating shift from the traditional media to the fragmented world of niche cable channels and the internet. The result has been a small but significant shift in Foster's market profile.
The brand "has been skewing a little bit older in terms of the consumer footprint than any healthy beer brand in the US would wish", said Pete Marino, a spokesman for SAB Miller, Foster's licencee in the US. …