Carling plans third new product in 24m revamp

Bass is planning to introduce a third version of Carling, the UK’s biggest-selling lager, into supermarkets and off-licences this summer as part of the brand’s 24m relaunch.

The new version will sit alongside the standard and higher-strength Premier versions, though newly-promoted Bass marketing director Mark Hunter declines to give further details. One observer suggests Bass may be considering introducing a self-chilling can. Carling is facing pressure in the off-trade from Stella Artois, which now outsells it by value.

Carling relaunches this week with new advertising by WCRS and a newly-designed can. It is dropping the “Black Label” tag (MW January 8), and moving away from ads which lampoon rival European lagers.

An interactive kiosk called “World of Carling” will be rolled out to 20,000 pubs and clubs, offering the chance to win free pints of Carling. The Carling Internet site has been redesigned. Twenty million cans bearing the words “Vive Le Football” are being launched to tie in with the World Cup in May and July. The brand will be sold in 330ml PET (plastic) bottles, and the company is to test 275ml “stubby” bottles.

Hunter, who took over the marketing director’s role from Seamus McBride in January, says: “Carling has grown by 40 per cent in volume to 3.1 million barrels over the past five years, and Carling Premier sells 250,000 barrels. For the relaunch, the ad budget has been upweighted by 6m. We are trying to build more intimacy and give more access points to the brand. The new ad campaigns show Carling’s ability to understand what lies at the heart of the modern British drinker.”

Hunter also revealed that Bass will drop comedian Harry Enfield from its new campaign for Worthington when it returns to television in April.

Hooper’s Hooch is to launch a TV advertising campaign next autumn. Hooper’s Reef, a still fruit juice laced with alcohol (MW February 12) is to be launched shortly.

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