The origin of the 'Give a XXXX' campaigns

Tayla Foster
By Tayla Foster | 4 August 2022
Image: Screenshot from Give a XXX commercial.

Giving a XXXX started as a classic beer commercial in 1980s poking fun at the expense of the stereotypical Australian.

According to the London Observer in September 1985, Allied-Lyons heavily promoted Castlemaine Perkins XXXX Gold Lager in the UK via an advertising campaign masterminded by Saatchi & Saatchi using the slogan “Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for any other lager",

Now XXXX Gold manufactured in Queensland by ​​Castlemaine Perkins is convincing Australians to give a XXXX about the environment in an array of integrated out-of-home campaigns including: 'Giving a XXXX about tomorrow' and 'Give a XXXX about the environment to save beer'.

COO at Luma Research, Georgia Phillips says that the brand's colloquial approach to advertising and marketing allowed XXXX to be a large part of both Queensland and, more broadly, Australian culture.

Phillips provides brief historical insight into the long-standing campaign to give perspective on the success of such a long-standing and popular campaign.

Phillips: "To understand the success of the XXXX brand and their marketing we have to take a step back in time. The brand, almost 100 years old, was started in Brisbane and was a widely popular brand in Queensland, but has grown to be popular throughout Australia."

Phillips says that there are two key elements which underpin the success of a brand like XXXX. They are the branding mechanics and relevance. "Bringing the two together, that is when the magic happens," she said.

Phillips: "If we look at the branding mechanics, one of the key strengths that stands out for me about XXXX is the consistent use of the tagline which integrates the brand name."

"There are few brands that actually have equity in their tag and can use it as a distinctive brand asset – Nike’s ‘Just do It’ is the other example that comes to mind. But this one is a real cracker – Give a XXXX – it's short, easy to remember, funny, links to an emotion, has the brand in it, and, it also has a double meaning."

The Luma COO credits the success of the on-going Give a XXXX campaigns to its relevenace in Australian culture and ultimately, our love for a beer.

Phillips: "The other element which underpins the brand's success is relevance. This sense of relevance is key to creating an emotional connection with consumers and is led by a consumer insight. I’ve always been fascinated by beer ads as they were one of the first categories (along with tobacco) to really nail the emotional style of advertising.

"They don’t usually have a message, they rely on a feeling and creating engagement to strengthen perceptions e.g. “It’s a cool brand”, “It’s a brand for me”, “ I’d feel good drinking this with my mates”. I think of the ‘Whasssup’ Budweiser ads from the 90s!"

Phillips recalls the overarching success of the XXXX campaigns from it's original Castlemaine Sherry commercial from the 1980s. Four decades on, the brand still has relevance.

She said: "If we look back in time, it is interesting to see how the XXXX brand has used both strong branding and relevance in their campaigns.

"There are some legendary campaigns through the years. The Sherry ad from the '80s is one of my personal favourites (and I am sad to admit that I am old enough to remember seeing it on TV).

"Here the brand's line was around “Australians Wouldn’t Give a XXXX for Anything else”. But it works because it is a simple relevant story using classic humour delivered by relevant casting.

"The dead-pan delivery of the lines makes this dry observational humour relate to every Queenslander and all Australians. It is not just about the look of the characters (which are always wearing farming workwear), but their ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and approach to life that really connects with people."

Phillips gives credit to the brand's success and how far it has come from its original stereotypical Aussie ads with tradies, miners and farm workers. She gives credit to the brand's goal to promote a more sustainable Australia applauds its humour, casting and language to now reach a new, younger demographic.

She said: "So, it seems the brand is taking a sustainability approach to new products and also its positioning. And now the ‘Give a XXXX’ line links to giving a F*** about the environment. It is a fun way to make a statement about the brand’s purpose and create an emotional connection to younger drinkers."

"The use of language, humour and casting in the ad are spot on – highly relatable. Gone are the tradies, miners and farm workers, and in comes the modern more hipster type man. There’s a nod to the broad range of drinkers in the background to show this is a ubiquitous brand that is loved by all."

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