Magazine article Marketing

Viewers Couldn't Give XXXX for Such Irrelevance

Magazine article Marketing

Viewers Couldn't Give XXXX for Such Irrelevance

Article excerpt

Years ago my old partner Glenmore Trenear-Harvey told me a heartrending talc about some poor bloke who was bitten on the end of his whanger by a tiger snake. A couple of decades later it was cleverly bowdlerised to help introduce Castlemaine XXXX in this country.

You will recall that Foster's had already been launched using the same ploy; it is Australian and they make good beer in Oz. Foster's used Paul Hogan playing the ultimate Australian - for which he is well-equipped after 50 years' practice - while Castlemaine recycled classic jokes like the tiger snake one.

This was a clever idea. Australians can be wonderfully funny, especially about our performance in sundry competitive sports, concerning which my Sydney associate wittily reminds me at depressingly frequent intervals. But trying to be more Aussie than the next bloke is a perilously slim basis upon which to build your marketing strategy, which may be why Castlemaine, being second into the field, has never done as well as it might. Even Foster's, deprived of Mr Hogan, is now faltering.

In an idle moment lately I was thumbing through old issues of Marketing, which can be instructive since you often see foreshadowed therein the wreck of great enterprises - or in this case follies. Last August, Castlemaine announced they were about to spend the largest sum of money in one night in British advertising history. They were buying nine slots for [pounds]1m to "revamp the Aussie lager's image".

The ads would "ditch the rough and ready hero" of "Australians wouldn't give a XXXX", which was "not the right image for the 90s". …

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