CREATIVE STRATEGY: Kronenbourg ads make most of fresh positioning
Kronenbourg, an idea, white space, and Lemmy. What more could you ask for?
Lemmy: from Kronenbourg TV ad
Though generally a real ale fan myself, I’ve been known to quaff the occasional lager. Indeed, a few years ago, Kronenbourg 1664 (or "Kronie" as we called it in our Charlotte Street watering hole) was the post-work pint of choice for the little gang at the agency I co-founded.
So, for example, while I have great fondness for Jeff Suthon’s work on Hobgoblin, I also take a keen interest in the marketing battle at the lager pumps.
Readers who still have all their brain cells may recall my article bemoaning the state of Stella Artois’s recent advertising. Since that piece in May, the work’s gone further downhill.
Now the ads bang on about the beer having just four ingredients. Not only is this a pretty generic statement for a mainstream ‘Continental’ lager, it’s territory that was well covered for years by Becks. Your guess is as good as mine as to where Stella goes from here.
For something more palatable, check out the current campaign for Kronenbourg 1664. First, there’s an idea. (Shocking, I know.)
Survey after survey confirms our anxiety about coping with an increasingly frenetic world, pursued by calls, emails and txts, dawn to dusk to dead of night. Kronenbourg neatly positions itself as the antidote: ‘Slow the pace’.
If you think that’s a fairly obvious thought, well, so was Heineken’s ownership of "Refreshing" all those decades ago. Sometimes, the simplest solution is also the cleverest.
But more than the intellectual validity of the plannery-stuff, I’ve been charmed by the creative executions, in print and film.
Any art directors amongst my gentle readers? Which of you remembers that old saw: "The creative use of white space."? Someone has for the Kronenbourg 1664 press ad. Most of the Sunday supp full-page ad hasn’t been touched by ink. Love it.
Wrapped around a classic product shot is a nice slug of copy that underpins the core thought. There is a claim, a story, and even a call to action. All in one para. Buy that scribe a pint.
As with any true idea, the Kronenbourg campaign works equally well wherever it’s placed. Don’t take my word for it. Just click here:
Kronenbourg 1664 & Motörhead Official Advert ft. Ace of Spades (slow version) - 90"www.youtube.com
Picture the scene. A bar somewhere in France or Belgium. Locals chatting, playing cards. In the background, some musos tune up.
Who should take centre stage but Motorhead’s Lemmy singing the speed-metal anthem "Ace Of Spades"? But thanks to the Kronenbourg effect, the thrashing guitars and pounding drums are replaced with a balladic harmonica and Lemmy in lyrical mood.
If this little film doesn’t bring a smile to your face, check your pulse.
Here again, Kronenbourg is out of kilter with its Continental cousins by adopting humour, a weapon we associate with Carling, Foster’s and John Smith’s.
Is this an attempt to capture market share from the less obvious candidates, rather than Stella, Staropramen, Amstel, et al? Answers on the back of a beer mat, please.
And next time a long day at the copy coalface calls for a cold one, maybe you’ll let me buy you a Kronie.
Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones.
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