At the 2009 IAB Australia Awards, it’s fair to say that very few were surprised when ‘The Best Job in the World’ campaign was announced as the winner. But when the 2010 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia award judges sat down to review this year’s finalists they faced a collection of exceptional digital work. Creative campaigns with well-targeted execution and clearly documented results abounded, showcasing the growing commitment by advertisers and their agencies to invest their valuable marketing budgets online.

Interestingly the FMCG sector again dominated the finalists’ list, highlighting both the quality and effectiveness of well-executed online strategies and campaigns and also the disparity between this quality and the investment by the FMCG sector in online advertising, which accounts for a mere 5% of the $500 million annual general display category. 

The 2010 IAB Awards winner, ‘6 Beers of Separation’, is proof for FMCG marketers that online can bring incredible benefits to their marketing campaigns. The campaign, which was produced for Lion Nathan by ZenithOptimedia, won both its Branded Content category and Best of Show – and was described by judges as the best piece of digital work that has come out of Australia. 

The campaign was also lauded for its clever integration of the product into campaign, the simple but clever naming of the campaign and the fact that it was a multi-stage campaign designed for long-term engagement. Best of all it included well-documented results and clearly showed digital is now mainstream. So let’s see what it entailed.

Campaign: ‘6 beers of Separation’ Client: Lion Nathan
Agency: ZenithOptimedia
Campaign URLs:


Competition for the attention of young adult beer drinking consumers is intense. The marketplace has continued to change and competition comes from traditional big brands as well as myriad micro-breweries, mixed drink alternatives and imported beers.

Lion Nathan embarked upon a fully integrated marketing program that would run over nine months targeted at 18- to 24-year-olds. The campaign included the creation of an evolving branded content property that would both reach the core audience with a message about Tooheys Extra Dry (TED) and encourage engagement with the brand. The overall aim, of course, being that this activity would lead to selling more TED.


Lion Nathan’s target audience is very marketing savvy and sceptical so it is no longer enough to advertise at them. To really connect with young adults the campaign needed to tap into their desire to have a voice and express themselves.

The campaign solution came from a simple idea. You can meet some interesting people over a beer – and, as the theory goes, everyone in the world is connected by six degrees, so, could you meet the person on the planet who inspires you the most, in six steps or less, simply by meeting different people over a beer?

Lion Nathan challenged its target audience to prove this theory of ‘6 Beers of Separation’ and selected four people to go on a worldwide journey, armed with a six-pack, travel money, a camera crew and 18 days to prove it.

One hundred and fifty thousand kilometres, three continents and 15 cities later, four people got to meet their heroes and the campaign was a huge success.


Lion Nathan seeded the program, building awareness of ‘6 Beers’ in a select audience of influencers and offering them the opportunity to be part of the project via popular creative outlets.

This invitation phase incorporated a video explaining the project and editorial supporting material, along with online seeding in creative community blogs/forums, m-sites accessed via banners and QR codes on packaging, online display advertising, youth partnerships (with LifeLounge, VICE magazine, Pages magazine, Pedestrian and 2Threads), on-premise and street posters and a presence at Semi-Permanent – a mecca for the creative crowd.

The combined effort sought to build hype and share the audition submissions – and it worked. Thousands responded to the invitation and four were chosen.

Phase two of the online activity involved announcing and introducing the four finalists and then maintaining a buzz about the impending launch of episodes. Lion Nathan didn’t rely on the audience visiting a destination hub – instead delivering editorial on key youth partner sites, advertising on mass reach sites such as YouTube, Yahoo! and MySpace, as well as through other familiar environments, which gave consumers the choice of how and when to watch.

Lion Nathan then created both short and long form content of the four finalists’ journeys and distributed this via the main video channels and partners. Snackable content and the full episodes were distributed in familiar environments, including Foxtel on>demand, Mobile on>demand, iTunes, YouTube,, MySpace, Facebook and various youth partnerships.

In order to connect with the core Gen Y crowd ‘in their voice’ youth media partners were briefed to bring the project to life and create content and tailor it for their individual channels – the highlights were a VBS.TV branded channel that looks like one of their rooms and housed the campaign content, plus other relevant youth content. Pedestrian also created a regular ‘Idol of Idols’ with video interviews with up and coming ‘stars’, and a ‘Finding Kevin Bacon’ vox pops program with punters on the street. A 6BOS feature film was screened in cinemas and distributed via 50,000 DVDs with the purchase of TED.

Further mass media worked, raised awareness of the shows with TV, OOH, men’s mags, cinema and themed packaging/promotions all being used.

Overall, 20% of the media budget was allocated to digital – and the impact was considerable.


There is no denying the campaign was hugely successful. Over the campaign period Lion Nathan achieved an increase in sales of 9.5 percent and a 15 percent increase in market share – smashing its targets in the process.

The campaign content was viewed 700,000 times online as well as on TV (on>demand) representing over 67,000 hours spent viewing Lion Nathan’s branded content and it was a big hit on YouTube, becoming one of the top five most subscribed sponsored channels in Australia.

Other digital results were just as impressive, with over 630,000 unique visits to all digital destinations, an average of 70,000 views per month, an average time of 6.45 minutes spent on the site, 37,000 m-site visitors, 17,000 video streams, 21,398 downloads from iTunes, 6,000 subscribers and 1600+ QR scans (carton and venue advertisements).

The results proved that not only did the ‘6 Beers of Separation’ campaign achieve incredible reach, it also truly engaged with its target audience.

The campaign is a very worthy winner of the IAB Australia 2010 Awards and is set to be a very strong contender in the US MIXX Awards, which will be held later this year in New York.

Perhaps most importantly, the ‘6 Beers of Separation’ campaign is an excellent example of the value and impact brand advertising online can offer marketers.