Campaign: Carlton Dry Fusion Lemon – Facebook

Client: Carlton and United Breweries Australia

Promotional agency: Creative Activation (née CSM)

Social media agency: Additude


Beer has seen an influx of new brewers, flavours and styles over the past few years, and there is fierce competition between brands for valuable shelf space.

Beer brand promotions have been innovative and usually through traditional media, but Carlton Dry wanted to try social media to test the hype around the medium. The brand charged Creative Activation to come up with a social media marketing solution for the launch of its new brand ‘Carlton Dry Fusion Lemon’. This led Creative Activation to Additude. At that time Australia was, and is still, behind the UK and US when it comes to social media marketing. The medium had been utilised in Australia by a few major brands such as Holden, NAB and Smirnoff, when Carlton Dry decided to give it a chance. The challenge was to come up with a concept that could convince Carlton Dry that this medium was effective.


The objective was to reach and attract the 18- to 24-year-old market to sample the new product and to do it under the $75,000 budget. At the same time we needed the campaign to be ingenious with an Australian answer to social media marketing, not a simple import of a proven format from overseas. The objective of Carlton Dry was not just to get its already loyal drinking base to sample this new product, but to also create brand awareness at large within a six-week period at lightning speed.


Taking a product to the consumer is expensive, but getting the consumer to the product is not. Carlton Dry knew it needed a compelling message that would speak to the young, unisex market it was targeting. The message it used was undeniably appealing: FREE BEER!

What was needed was an Australian concept that packed a punch and spread virally.

Facebook was the ideal choice for channel, as it had just over two million Australian users in the target group. Drinking beer is very social and ‘Shouting Your Mate’ is very Australian. So we developed a campaign where we took the core message (free real beer to the customer) and asked them to shout their mates. We also published on users’ Facebook walls whenever they printed a voucher. So, in effect, we had the customers advocating the product to their circle of friends.

Persuading the customer to be your advocate is great. But you need to create an initial pool of customers that have enough beer enthusiasts to spread the word. So we wanted to seed the campaign with an initial population banner advertisement within Facebook.

Carlton Dry’s audience responded, spreading the offer to an average of 3.5 friends each during the promotion period, but to an average of eight friends each during the first two weeks.


Using Facebook to spread the message and BWS as a retail partner, Carlton Dry began offering free beer to the ‘openly’ social target market through non-traditional media channels. As the new product was launched via Facebook – a first in Australia – Facebook users could shout each other a free Carlton Dry Fusion Lemon, by printing off a voucher and redeeming it at BWS.

So, in the blink of an eye, Facebook users began spreading the brand message by shouting their friends free beer. And, to drive the viral aspect, we added a permission-based wall post where the Facebook users were encouraged to publish on their personal wall that they had received a free Carlton Dry Fusion Lemon and they were shouting their friends.

In order to create a critical mass of initial Facebook users, we employed the Social Ad feature of Facebook that displays banner ads on Facebook pages and directs users to the Facebook campaign page when clicked. The banner ad was targeted to 18- to 24-year-old Facebook users and constantly regulated to achieve the best result. After running the campaign for a couple of weeks, we found that Facebook users in the target market are most active on Thursdays and between 10pm and 11pm on any given day. So we used the marketing intelligence gathered through this process to regulate when the banner ad campaign starts and stops within each day. We were able to communicate to the bulk of the target market exactly when they were using the social media platform.

The main challenge was to ensure under 18s were not exposed to and could not access any of the content. We built a special system that prevented the campaign content and all viral feeds generated by the campaign activity from being seen by Facebook users under 18.

The second challenge was to ensure we excluded Northern Territory and Northern Queensland residents from the promotion, due to lack of distribution.


In a traditional product launch, samples would have been distributed in several nightclubs using promotional talent. This would have needed vast human resourcing to achieve the desired outcome of creating buzz about the product and getting enough trials. In addition, this would not have benefitted Carlton and United Breweries’ distribution partners and is costed at approximately $300,000.

The product message spread very quickly. The tonality of the creative, while direct, factual and product-centric, was perfectly in sync with the target demographic’s tongue-in-cheek wit. Carlton Dry’s audience responded, spreading the offer to an average of 3.5 friends each during the promotion period, but to an average of eight friends each during the first two weeks.

The clever regulation of banner ad display contributed to 14 million impressions to the target group through just $4500 media spend in six weeks. This did not include the impressions created by each user whenever they performed an activity on the campaign Facebook page. An activity was anything from requesting a free beer to printing a voucher or shouting a mate. The campaign provided 20,000 genuine trials, meaning 20,000 visits to around 600 BWS stores in the relevant catchments.

The campaign was awarded Best Small Budget Campaign ($75,000 and under) and Best Retail Channel Specific by the Australasian Promotional Marketing Association.

“We are always looking for differentiated ways to engage young adult drinkers in Australia. This sampling activity provided us with a chance to be innovative and creative across the entire value chain and the ability to incorporate a key retail partner in this activity was a key to its success,” says Vincent Ruiu, group marketing manager, Carlton Masterbrand.