Hahn avoids 'poison chalice' of beer ads with latest work

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 13 June 2018

Hahn won't be drinking from the "poison chalice" of the big beer ad anytime soon, despite its latest campaign showing striking similarities.

Lion portfolio marketing manager contemporary brands Amy Darvill says the new 'ahh, now you're talking' campaign is about the brand avoiding the pitfalls of previous TV efforts.

The 'big beer ad' category was created in the 90s, and grew in popularity following Cartlon's now infamous 'Big Ad' in 2005.

"The big beer ad is a bit of a poison chalice," Darvill says.

"If you set out to make a big beer ad it comes with all sorts of connotations and you could make life a bit tricky for yourself.

"In the past, we've overcomplicated ideas and we've spoken to really narrow consumer targets, so we threw all of that out and said let's just do something that is hopefully entertaining and lighthearted."

The new platform is backed by a $12 million campaign called “Beer Banter" and focuses on Hahn's low carb offering, Hahn Super Dry.

The 30-second launch ad shows two men marching towards one another to the tunes of 'You're the Voice' by John Farnham and 'The Horses' by Daryl Braithwaite.

As the two prepare to meet in the middle, the ad cuts away to a local pub, where the two men are seen arguing over the songs.

Darvill says the reason behind the ad was due to a recent lack of presence in the market, with Hahn unable to keep up with the other brands capitalising on the shifting attitudes of the 'full strength' beer drinker.

"Because we hadn't been out in the market talking the beer up, some of our competitors were, quite frankly, outpacing us," she says.

"It [low carb beer] is really hotting up as the key battleground in beer, so rather than narrowing our business on just our low-carb competitors, what we wanted this campaign to do, is really broaden Hahn back out to the everyday beer drinking public."

Not only was Hahn wary of its direct beer brand competitors, Darvill says "cultural phenomenon" such as Netflix and Uber Eats were also top of mind when creating the campaign.

She says that if the campaign does nothing else other than reminding beer drinkers how good it is to "have a couple” down at the local pub with mates, then Lion will be satisfied.

"It is about getting people back, and away from Netflix, socialising with their mates," Darvill says.

"On-premise is so critical to our business, but it is also an integral part to our culture and whilst there has been a lot of talk in recent years about people not going out as much and being cocooned in their homes, it's still a big part of society."

The campaign is rolling out across TV, out of home , PR and digital over the coming weeks. There is also hundreds of ‘conversation starters’ featuring provocative questions being placed under Hahn bottle caps and on pub coasters as part of an amplification in conjunction with Geometry Global, WPP's shopper marketing agency.

Darvill says while these elements bring the campaign to life and will be the focus for the remainder of the year, feeding into 2019.

“You can go and create a TV ad, which is obviously very high profile and it is a huge expense, but the power of the idea is in everything that surrounds it,” she says.

“We've got the ad there as a call back to memory and then we use all of those other touch points people may interact with more regularly to really drive home the idea.”

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