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‘Probably not’: Carlsberg changes tack with bold new ad campaign

Carlsberg has launched a new marketing campaign in the UK, completely overhauling its longstanding slogan by admitting that its flagship beer is “probably not the best beer in the world”.

The bold new message aims to drive awareness of its recently reformulated Danish pilsner, encouraging consumers to give the brand another chance as part of a refocus away from volume and towards premium quality.

As part of the £20 million activation, Carlsberg will launch a range of social, out-of-home and digital activity complemented by a new TV advert starring actor-turned-voice of Carlsberg Mads Mikkelsen.

The brand had set tongues wagging late last week when it promoted several old tweets that criticised the taste of its beer. One such tweet endorsed by the company claimed that its beer tasted “like stale breadsticks”.

Carlsberg appears to have taken a page from KFC’s playbook: last year the fast-food chain used negative tweets about the quality of its fries to preempt a new recipe and create a hype around the relaunch.

Carlsberg UK claimed that mainstream interest in standard lagers has reached “an all-time low”, with 1.6 million fewer drinkers than five years ago. The brand also claimed that more than 80% of consumers surveyed said they would pay more for a better-tasting lager.

Liam Newton, VP marketing for Carlsberg UK, explained: “Drinker’s interest in mainstream lager has waned because, though the world has moved on, the mainstream category hasn’t.

“At Carlsberg UK, we lost our way. We focused on brewing quantity, not quality; we became one of the cheapest, not the best. In order to live up to our promise of being ‘probably the best beer in the world’, we had to start again. We’ve completely rebrewed Carlsberg from head to hop.”

As well as the changes to Carlsberg Danish pilsner, the brand has released branded glassware and new packaging.

Lynsey Woods, director of marketing for Carlsberg UK, continued: “We’ve returned to a path of pursuing better in every way, inspired by the legacy of our founder JC Jacobsen.

“We have upgraded every touchpoint of our brand and launched our innovative ‘snap pack’ multipacks to enable us to deliver a reduction in plastic of up to 50% from brewery to store. These were significant undertakings, but the biggest challenge is letting UK drinkers know we have changed and getting them to fall back in love with Carlsberg again.”



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