Magazine article Marketing

New Image Brewing for Latest Hybrid Ale

Magazine article Marketing

New Image Brewing for Latest Hybrid Ale

Article excerpt

Bass has been toasting the success of its Caffrey's brand since it was launched two years ago on St Patrick's Day, marketed around an Irish theme and attracting young drinkers with both its taste and advertising.

The Caffrey's launch led to a new sector, 'hybrid ale', a cross between bitter and stout which has since emerged as the only growth area in the otherwise stagnant beer market.

Advertising for the new brand portrayed an image of a modern ale enjoyed by youthful Irish New Yorkers, keen to share in its supposed Celtic heritage.

Guinness followed last year with its own hybrid, Kilkenny Irish Ale, which is due to receive major TV ad support this summer with a spend of around [pounds]3m through Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, the agency behind the Enigma Draught Lager ads.

Kilkenny will also rely on Irish imagery to secure drinkers aged 18 to 35, though Guinness will be keen to differentiate its brand from Caffrey's.

Tricky targeting

Now a new brand is about to enter the fray, taking a different marketing approach and avoiding the Irish associations of the two key brands in the sector.

Whitbread is to launch Boddingtons Manchester Gold with a campaign through Battle Bogle Hegarty.

The task of the new campaign will be a tough one - establishing the new brand as distinct from Boddingtons bitter - while taking on Caffrey's and Kilkenny.

BBH is faced with developing dual campaigns for Whitbread's original Boddingtons bitter and its soon-to-arrive hybrid ale variant.

Boddingtons Manchester Gold will face stiff competition from Caffrey's, on which Bass spent [pounds]8m in TV support last year through WCRS.

But Stuart MacFarlane, marketing manager for Boddingtons, says the company's research into the sector had shown consumers were more concerned with taste and texture than with Irish imagery.

"Irishness is a personality within the hybrid beers market, but it doesn't define the category. …

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