The Perfect Lager Project – analysis of the award-winning campaign
Winner – ‘The Perfect Lager Project’ was the winner of both the ‘Product Launch’ and ‘Cross-Platform Integration’ categories at this year’s IAB Australia Awards, with a campaign that was notable for the fact that the product launch campaign would be kicked off without a product, and it became a textbook example of how to execute a crowd-sourcing idea with originality and wit.
Campaign: The Perfect Lager Project
Client: Casella Family Brewers
Australian winemaker Casella Wines, known for exporting good value, mass-market wine, wanted to launch a premium beer brand targeting white-collar males. Although it had identified a clear opportunity within the market, Casella knew that a successful launch would require innovation and ingenuity.
Australian beer consumption has been in decline since its peak in 1979, with per capita consumption dropping by around 35% in 30 years. The premium beer market is crowded and a recent rise in the popularity of cider and craft beers, along with increasingly promiscuous beer drinking habits, had made the beer market a complex one to navigate and gain market share.
AnalogFolk was tasked with developing a launch strategy to crack the premium beer market and launch Casella’s new beer, promoting awareness, engaging and exciting premium beer-drinking males.
Despite its extensive wine heritage, Casella lacked credentials in the brewing space in a category that is dominated by ‘old’ cues of history and heritage. This lack of experience became the central creative premise of the launch campaign and, instead of a ‘traditional’ launch, the campaign was transformed into a challenge to Australians to help Casella brew a new premium beer. This approach meant it would become Australia’s first crowd-sourced beer, a thoroughly modern approach to launching a thoroughly modern beer.
To find out from Australian beer lovers what makes a beer perfect, AnalogFolk devised ‘The Perfect Lager Project’ – part research project, part brewing brief and part mobile game. Once the characteristics of a perfect beer were identified via the Project, Casella would then brew and bottle it.
The campaign was devised in several distinct phases, which also served to build momentum to launch, and amplify engagement and buzz around the soon-to-be-launched beer.
Awareness of ‘The Perfect Lager Project’ was driven by a comprehensive bought, owned and earned media plan (with a budget of under $1 million) to guide target consumers into all campaign experiences. The plan encompassed an influencer program, branded content, 3D cinema, street press, iPad, outdoor and in-game advertising, and an extensive off-premise sampling program with iPad voting.
First, over 100,000 data points were sourced from beer lovers and provided to the brewers. Data was collated from a mobile app, which allowed people to rate the perfection level of each beer as they drank it. Using advanced image recognition, drinkers simply pointed their phone at a beer label and the process began. Using this insight from consumers the brewers then created two potentially perfect lagers.
Both beers were launched at a media event where 50 of the most influential people in the industry were flown to the brewery to be the first to taste the new brews. Customised video invitations were created, which drove the highest response and acceptance rate Casella had ever had to a media launch. These guests selected Australia’s first ‘crowd-brewed’ premium lager, named Arvo, as the winner. Then it was time to hand the two brews over to loyal fans to let them vote for the ultimate winner.
The campaign showed early signs of great results when it generated over 100,000 data points in its first phase. However it was clear that it was a success when the winning beer, Arvo, was launched and recorded the biggest single sales week of any new Australian beer in 2012.
The campaign also generated over two million conversations, 10 million earned impressions via PR and social media, and over 20,000 fans on Facebook. It recorded the highest engagement rate of any Australian beer brand during the campaign period.
Research showed repeat purchase intent of 85% from drinkers and Australia’s largest liquor chain Dan Murphy’s named Arvo ‘Australia’s most innovative lager’. The new premium lager also recorded a net promoter score of 21 for Arvo consumers.
Naming it the winner in the ‘Product Launch’ category, the panel of judges liked the fact that although the strategy and idea was unconventional and interactive, conventional channels were also used to bring it to life. In addition, the use of crowd-sourcing, gamification and the mobile app was smart and effective.