Scottish Courage is understood to have to appointed roster agency TBWA/London to handle the advertising for Newcastle Brown Ale. It is thought that the multi-million pound brief for the 77-year-old brand will include a television campaign to revive the beer’s ailing fortunes, at a time when the popularity of real ale is declining.
The brand has been without a retained agency for some time.
TBWA already handles Scottish Courage’s John Smith’s brand. It is understood that the campaign will seek to change the image of Newcastle Brown Ale, which was one of the first drinks brands to introduce sensible-drinking messages on its bottles. The message reads: “Responsible drinkers don’t exceed 4 daily units (men) and 3 daily units (women).”
The brand has not been supported by large advertising budgets recently, but is remembered for its controversial parody of the famous Sophie Dahl Opium campaign in 2001. Created by Circus, the Newcastle Brown Ale ad featured an unshaven man in overalls and boots holding a bottle of the ale brand. The strapline said: “Brown is the new Brown.” Yves Saint Laurent sued the brewer over the ad.
Newcastle Brown Ale was first introduced in the UK in 1927. In 1999, Scottish Courage incorporated a heat-sensitive ink on labels, which changes colour when the beer reached its optimum drinking temperature.