Last night breweries and agencies up and down the country attended the Beer Marketing Awards at London’s iconic Truman Brewery as the industry celebrated its brightest marketing minds.
The awards recognise the very best in beer marketing, with categories from best ad campaign through to best stunt. The judges, lead by beer writer, Pete Brown, included leading on and off trade operators, beer journalists, bloggers and award-winning marketeers.
Pete Brown said: “The principle behind the awards was to celebrate great marketing across the sector – regardless of whether you’re a mainstream lager brand creating a large scale TV advertising campaign or a microbrewer pouring creativity into social media. In the modern market it’s not enough to simply brew a great beer – it needs to be communicated and presented to the drinker in the most compelling and attractive way possible. The variety and breadth of brewers and ideas that make up our finalists demonstrated that creativity and effectiveness can come from a brewer of any size, with any budget.”
The Winners of the 2015 Beer Marketing Awards (comments from lead judge, Pete Brown unless stated).
Best Branding or Design
Beavertown’s bold can designs break every rule in the design book and succeed in revolutionising cans as a premium format.
Highly commended: BrewDog, for a package redesign that subtly sees the punks mature and broaden their appeal.
Also Shortlisted: Crafty Dan from Thwaites Brewery
Best Use of Competitions
Winner: Thornbridge and Waitrose, with BrewUK – ‘Homebrew Challenge’
It’s surprising that Thornbridge was the only entry in this category but it would have been very strong against stiff competition, creating a value chain from home brewer to retailer by giving a talented amateur a chance to brew and sell a beer commercially.
Best Use of Merchandise
Winner: Vedett Extra Blond – ‘Vedett Extra’
Vedett takes merchandise to a new level with its ‘mini Mathon’, a kitsch machine that takes drinkers’ photos and instantly prints them on bespoke labels, giving you your own personal bottle of Vedett.
Highly commended: Ales by Mail – ‘Beer Advent Calendar’ a simple, effective idea, well executed.
Best Use of Sponsorship
Winner: Budweiser – ‘FA Cup Open Trials’
Football sponsorship has been done to death and Budweiser has struggled to seem like a credible brand in this area. The solution? A grassroots scheme giving talented players a second chance to get spotted and play for a league club. A perfect example of how the best sponsorship gives genuine value to the property being sponsored and the audience as well as the brand.
Also shortlisted: Carling – ‘World Cup ITV Coverage’; Estrella Damm – ‘Gastronomy Congress’
Best Public Relations Campaign
Winner: Greene King Old Speckled Hen – ‘Old Speckled Christmas’
Providing a real, physical space just off Oxford Street for weary Christmas shoppers to have a beer and a slice of cake is a beautifully simple and inspired way of getting the brand talked about.
Also shortlisted: Britain’s Beer Alliance – ‘There’s a Beer For That’; Marston’s Pedigree – ‘Making Local PR Count’
Best Stunt or Event
Winner: Wychwood Hobgoblin – ‘Hobgoblin Roadshow’
A combined social media, live roadshow and trade engagement programme folded into a national sampling programme unlike any other brand could – or would – do. Proving that even sampling can be a brand-building activity.
Also shortlisted: Greene King – ‘Charity Ball’; Sol – ‘Sol Street Food’
Best Business-to-Business Campaign
Winner: Heineken – ‘Our Shout’
Trade marketing is often the poor relation, an off-shoot of the main campaign idea given little thought. So it was a wonderful surprise when this category presented the most impressive shortlist and the most difficult decision when choosing a winner. Three outstanding campaigns each gave real benefit to the trade rather than talking down to them. Heineken eventually triumphed with a programme that rewards licensees for their custom with practical help such as setting up Facebook pages or advertising the pub in local media.
Highly commended: Butcombe Bottle Ales – ‘Premium Bottled Ale Report’; Carlsberg – ‘Crafted’
Best use of Social Media
Winner: BrewDog – ‘#MashTag’
The brand that has built itself through social media still has an assured touch. #MashTag allowed fans to design a new BrewDog beer for commercial launch, their involvement generating conversation, deeper relationships with the brand, and of course, instant demand.
Highly commended: Trooper by Robinsons and Maiden Brews – ‘Trooper Tracker’, uses the devotion of Iron Maiden fans to generate a database of where the beer be found.
Also shortlisted: BeerBods – ‘#BeerBods’; Estrella – ‘#EstrellaLife’
Best Print Advertising Campaign
Winner: Fuller’s London Pride – ‘Made of London’
An elegant, crafted campaign that succeeds in one of the most difficult jobs in beer marketing: re-presenting a traditional, long-established brand as more modern and contemporary without abandoning its roots.
Also shortlisted: Belhaven Best – ‘To a Pint’; Old Speckled Hen- ‘Seek Out Something Different’
Best Broadcast Advertising Campaign
Winner: Shepherd Neame Spitfire – ‘Bottle of Britain’
Proving there is still a role for good old-fashioned, entertaining telly ads, Shepherd Neame has succeeded in revitalising the campaign that made it a national brand but was increasingly showing its age. Now it feels fresh and funny again, relevant and appealing to 21st century drinkers.
Also shortlisted: Britain’s Beer Alliance – ‘There’s A Beer For That’; Old Speckled Hen – ‘Seek Out Something Different’
Best Integrated Campaign
Winner: Marston’s Pedigree – ‘Live a Life of Pedigree’
This campaign was integrated in every way: it targeted drinkers, pubs and internal stakeholders, aiming to rejuvenate the brand and restate its core values. It was the sheer number of layers to this campaign that impressed the judges, especially given a relatively modest budget.