Bulmers plans £15m marketing push to compete in the LAD sector

Bulmers is planning its biggest marketing push to date for its Strongbow brand, and putting £15m behind the flagship cider brand.

Television ads created by TBWA/London spearhead the campaign, the first to air following the decision to drop the “Live to loaf” advertising strategy and frontman Johnny Vaughan (MW May 23).

The campaign strategy focuses on the brand’s refreshment qualities, with the strapline “Get a thirst first”. The TV campaign breaks on August 9, with a spend of £8m above the line and another £7m is planned for below-the-line activity. This includes a significant investment in music, dance and sports events. New packaging for the take-home product will follow in the autumn.

Bulmers group marketing director Jon Eggleton says Strongbow has moved on from the cider market and is now a major player in the long alcoholic drinks (LAD) sector, in which it competes directly with the premium lager brands. Strongbow is number eight in the “lads” sector – Eggleton hopes to move up to seventh within 18 months.

The first ad shows a drinker joining the bull run at Pamplona, wearing all red kit, in order to build up a thirst. The second shows five friends apparently dying of thirst on a liferaft: the camera pulls back to show that they are in fact only a few feet off a Mediterranean beach, deliberately building up a thirst. The final ad shows two friends competing to eat as many cream crackers as they can. When they cannot manage any more, they slake their thirst with cans of Strongbow.

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