No doubt about it - the new Steinlager pure ad is nicely crafted. The cinematography is beautiful, the editing restrained and elegantly simple…the sound design is interesting (though I suspect it was the one bit that has lots of 'marketing' fingerprints on it - it seems to want to cover bases - like 'Kiwiness', 'Internationalism', exposition (Bahamian accent).…
But for all of that - is the ad a success? To be fair - success is something to be judged after the event - not at the beginning of the campaign - so, for now we have the back story:
The diver is William Trubridge - he is a world champion freediver from New Zealand. He trains in the Bahamas
The brand manager at Lion says the connection between the company's sponsorship/the ad is: "symmetry between Trubridge's poetry for his sport and the simplicity of Steinlager Pure, which contains only four New Zealand sourced ingredients - water, barley, hops and yeast."…""The way William describes his sport underlines the parallels in his pursuit for purity with our own Steinlager Pure. No extraneous ingredients, just absolute simplicity at its best, from the world's purest place. And, like William, Steinlager is uncompromising in its quest to be the best lager in the world."
DDB, the agency behind the ad's creation and production say ""'Keep it Pure' reflects how New Zealand's isolated location provides Kiwis with a unique perspective on life, one that is fresh, independent, original. It also embodies the mindset of a challenger with an uncompromising hunger for excellence.…". They also draw parallels between Trubridge and Ed Hilary.
Like Hilary before him and Trubridge the Steinlager brand has had its ups and downs. We featured a story in the early days of Idealog about it - which might still be worth a read. It used to be an iconic kiwi brand. But the beer market has changed dramatically since Steinlager was in its prime. Beer consumption been battered by wine, cider, craft beer, brewery ownership and the proliferation of both international brands and local flavour of the month offerings. Steinlager as a product got a bad rap as hangover beer (though if you drink enough of any beer you'll get a hangover). The brand dialed back its sponsorship of the All Blacks - or couldn't afford the price to be associated with it on the international stage - and introduced Steinlager Pure to respond to the market's trends and fads.
One other dynamic that can be hard to fathom from the sidelines is the effect of a message on the trade. Sometimes a brand like Steinlager Pure needs an injection of ad capital to convince the retail and wholesale trade that the brand is worth their continued support. Retail shelf space (on and off premise) is where the rubber really hits the road. The ad campaign becomes brand news - something for the reps to talk about and maybe something to wrap a promotion around. The Steinlager website and Facebook pages are certainly restrained. It could be a foray into 'content marketing' - though it doesn't seem to be part of the kind of orchestrated event like Red Bull's coverage of Felix Baumgartner's space jump.
Does it mark a resurgence of Steinlager to its former glory? Don't hold your breath. It may simply be disappearing into a black hole. Though, when the ad first appeared, I was intrigued and watched it to the end. And it is a refreshing change from beer cliches and Godfreys vacuum cleaner ads shouting at you.
Leave a comment - what do you think?
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.