Good beer, bad adverts

The quality of a beer is in inverse proportion to the quality of its advertising. This is the first rule of brewing marketing. I was reminded of it after seeing the new Adnams campaign. It’s an unfocused blend of mateyness, eco platitudes and cringe-worthy diffidence. With its clunky attempts to be interactive, it looks like the sort of thing that was knocked up by a couple of yokels over a few pints in the pub (see here.) Just the kind of thing that a Soho advertising agency who had never drunk Adnams would think that an Adnams drinker would like. Or maybe I’m doing them a disservice. Perhaps it’s a clever nod to rule number one. Are Adnams’ target drinkers so sophisticated that they will notice the bad ads and think mmmmmm good beer?

Do you remember the 80s heyday of of television beer advertising? The Hoffmeister bear, the Skol vikings, I bet he drinks Carling Black Label.  They were all terrible lagers. The only bitter that got adverts anywhere near as good was bland, creamy Boddingtons. Today the big English bitters, London Pride, Spitfire and Bombadier, rely on tired little Englander cliches to sell their products. I feel that their success is based more on intrinsic quality and good distribution that on their advertising.

Happily like these other English classics, Adnams will continue to sell great beer in spite of their dreary marketing. Or is the equation in drinkers’ minds of bad advertising and good beer now so strong, that Adnams sales will go through the roof? I will watch with interest. I only hope quality doesn’t dip in the rush to keep up with demand.

About Henry

Henry Jeffreys was born in London. He has worked in the wine trade, publishing and is now a freelance journalist. He specialises in drink and his work has appeared in the Spectator, the Guardian, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine. He was a contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013) and his book Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass was published in November 2016.
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4 Responses to Good beer, bad adverts

  1. A Red-faced Northerner says:

    Apropos of not much, top Yorkshire train company Grand Central sells Black Sheep Ale on its services to the West and North Ridings. Because making it all the way from Kings Cross to Pontefract without proper beer would be TORTURE.

  2. Pingback: The Southwold invasion | Henry's World of Booze

  3. Pingback: Anger doesn’t sell gin. | Henry's World of Booze

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