The lager will be aimed at both sexes as it aims to become a global brand.
Carlsberg's flagship brand has made its name through blokey marketing and football tie-ups. Now, however, it is trying to get in touch with its feminine side with another product.
Copenhagen, a 'metrosexual' lager brand, designed to appeal both to men and women, launches in the UK next month. It's a big deal for Carlsberg; the company has stated that it wants to make Copenhagen a global beer brand.
Khalil Younes, Carlsberg's senior vice-president of group sales, marketing and innovation, claims Copenhagen is a 'beer for beer-haters' and that its taste and image will attract consumers who would not usually drink lager.
According to Carslberg, the design of the 4.5% beer, which was launched in Denmark last year, is intended to reflect the Danish capital's 'urban, cosmopolitan and designer image'.
Faced with declining beer sales, as pubs close and many drinkers turn to wine, brewers have switched their attention to the fairer sex as they attempt to boost sales. Rival Molson Coors established a whole business unit to investigate why women in the UK do not like beer. It launched as Project Eve in 2008 before evolving into The BitterSweet Partnership. Last year the first fruits of its labour, a light, sparkling beer called Animee, went on sale.
Carlsberg tried to appeal to women before, with a fruit spritzer product, called Eve, but this was pulled from the UK last year after the company reined in its spend on new products.
So what must Copenhagen do to succeed where Eve failed and outshine Animee? We asked former Molson Coors chief marketing officer Simon Davies, now a director of consultancy Sidelight, and former Carlsberg and Grolsch brand manager Jamie Nascimento, now trade and shopper marketer at Young's Seafood.
Simon Davies Director, Sidelight (and formerly chief marketing officer at Molson Coors)
We have only ourselves to blame for the fact that women make up just a tenth of the UK beer market. For decades, beer in the UK has been presented as testosterone in a bottle; an essential part of a 'blokes only' world where women don't exist (or if they do, only to be leered at).
It's not the product that's the problem. In the US, women account for a quarter of beer sales. In Ireland, it's a third. Equally importantly, in those countries, men don't feel uncomfortable drinking beer in mixed company. In the UK, they are much more likely to switch to wine.
With Copenhagen's claimed 'gender-neutral' positioning, Carlsberg appears to have set out to create a beer that not only appeals directly to women, but also one that they would approve of their boyfriend drinking.
- Don't be seen to be explicitly targeting women. Make gender implicit, and don't ever use the term 'metrosexual'.
- Secure early-adopter opinion forming on-trade listings alongside Asda. Peer-group approval is essential. That means consumption in public ...
- ... and if you're going to be seen in public, make sure you're looking your best. That means fabulous glassware served with a flourish. You're competing with a £5 glass of Pinot Grigio, not a pint of mild.
- Associate Copenhagen with its parent brand. A small percentage increase in female consumption of Carlsberg will yield far bigger returns than Copenhagen could achieve alone.
Jamie Nascimento Trade and shopper marketer, Young's Seafood (and formerly brand manager at Carling and Grolsch)
There have been several product launches over the years into one of the world's most competitive, commoditised and saturated beer markets promising a 'beer not like a beer'.
Most have been pulled from the shelves. So, will Copenhagen survive the next range review?
It has potential. Aimed at the 'gender-neutral metrosexual', it is really a drive to attract women to drink lager. This remains a great opportunity in the UK, which has about half the proportion of female beer drinkers as Ireland or the US. In the UK, approximately 12% of female drinkers drink beer; in Ireland and the US, it is closer to 25%.
To break into this market, Copenhagen will need to deliver more than a clear bottle for the image-conscious.
It must also overcome the other substantial hurdles; that beer is associated with bloating, beer bellies and a strong taste, to name a few.
- Play outside the rules to get noticed and cut through in this crowded environment. Look further afield than beer, to innovative categories such as cosmetics, for inspiration.
- If taste is a key attribute, just saying it's great won't cut it. Trial will have to be a central part of the strategy to drive awareness and, ultimately, personal endorsement.
- Be clear on your target market and stay focused.
- A continued, patient and longer term targeted distribution-build will be the key for sustainable growth. Hold back on the boom-and-bust cycle.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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