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.