Magners vows to cover cider duty increase and unveils new positioning

Magners owner C&C Group has promised consumers it will absorb the 10% increase in cider duty as it unveils a new television campaign that repositions the cider brand as unconventional but traditional.

The brewer has launched a tactical press campaign for Magners today (26 March) with the text “Same again Darling. We’re covering the cost of the duty increase”.

The ad is a reference to Chancellor Alistair Darling’s budget announcement on Wednesday (24 March) that saw cider duty increase by 10% above inflation. Darling said the increase corrects an “anomaly” between beer and cider duty.

The decision has led to protests by cider makers and drinkers with thousands joining Facebook groups demanding the planned increase be scrapped.

Meanwhile, C&C Group has unveiled the first TV spots created by The Red Brick Road following its appointment last October and, according to the agency, marks the first time Magners has changed its communication strategy since its launch in 2006.

The ads use a new strapline, “There’s method in the Magners”, replacing “Time dedicated to you”, with the aim of highlighting that the “dedication in making Magners cider is so great that a series of remarkable behaviours have evolved in order to produce it at its best”.

One ad shows a resident of Clonmel, Tipperary driving quickly irrespective of the obstacles in his path to deliver apples to the Magners cider mill. It aims to highlight the freshness of the apples used in the brand.

The second depicts the village cricket team and their catching ability to highlight that the apples used in the brand are only used once they have fallen from apple trees.

Paul Bartlett, marketing director of Magners, says the campaign “provides us with the springboard for future growth”.

The group will hoping the campaign will reverse the decline in sales of Magners. Revenues in C&C’s cider division fell 8% between September 2009 and 15 January this year.

Observers believe that the group’s recent acquisition of Gaymer Cider Company, and the Blackthorn, Olde English and Gaymers brands that came with it, will help protect Magners premium positioning.

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