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Mortein and VB refresh: one holds onto history, other throws it out


Mortein and VB refresh: one holds onto history, other throws it out


It’s a constant challenge for brands, keeping up-to-date and refreshing marketing messaging. Many have long-standing positioning and new messaging is simply about maintaining mindshare with their consumers, causing marketing departments concern over weakening that positioning.

Over the weekend, VB launched a new campaign, yet again, moving on from its highly successful series of ‘Real’ ads, which saw the brand return to volume growth after an 8-year slump. While their previous campaign focused on VB being the beer for a man’s man, taking a jab at men who have become too feminine, the new campaign speaks to summer beer drinkers.

Interestingly, the brand resurrected its old slogan of VB being the ‘Best Cold Beer’, and is now pushing that brand message again in time for the summer season.

Craig Maclean, senior brand manager of VB tells Marketing: “Consumers know at the back of their heads that VB is the best cold beer, but our new campaign acts as a reminder, especially with the warmer weather approaching. We are maintaining our brand message that we are not a boutique beer, we are traditional, and we are still the best beer to be had on a Saturday afternoon.”

“With VB, we constantly try to contemporise the brand, and this time around, we’ve gone back to the heart of our brand message – which is VB’s strength as a traditional beer, but with a new story to tell,” says Maclean.

Mortein has sparked up much talk with its decision to ditch their mascot of over 50 years, Louie the Fly.

The brand no longer believes that Louie is an accurate representation of what the it stands for today. But the 8,927 fans on his Facebook page seem to think otherwise. With hundreds of posts wanting Mortein to keep Louie alive, one would almost wonder whether the brand had made a big boo-boo getting rid of their much beloved mascot.

[Managing Ed: Are we seeing another Gap play perhaps?]

Gawen Rudder, one of Australia’s advertising industry elders, and manager of membership, business services and advice at The Communications Council, feels that the brand is not listening to people who matter the most, the consumers.

“What Mortein is forgetting is that they no longer own the brand, the consumers do. Why would they want to drop a mascot that consumers have grown to love and associate the brand with?” questions Rudder.

“They dropped Louie 30 years ago when someone got tired of it, and I believe this is what has happened again. It’s silly because clearly, people like Louie, and they want Louie to stick around.

“Brands spend years building up their image, and a campaign that works. Instead of getting rid of him, they should consider giving him a makeover to keep up with the times. If Mortein wants to show that they’re advanced and modern, put Louie in a spaceship, or give him new clothes – don’t get rid of him.”

Rudder likens this to restaurant menus. “No matter how often a restaurant refreshes its menu, they always keep their best-sellers because they know that’s why customers return. Its common sense; when you’re on a good thing, don’t throw it away.”

Belle Kwan

Assistant editor, Marketing magazine & marketingmag.com.au A marketer's dream who believes everything she sees on TV. Advertising is not evil, it is an artform and a science.

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