The brewer is rolling out a multimillion pound campaign this month to support its Italian Birra Moretti beer in the UK. It will feature Facebook activity, sponsorship tie-ups, experiential events and sales promotions as well print adverts throughout the year.
The beer is also the official beer sponsor of Jamie Oliver’s The Big Festival in September.
Heineken claims the Birra Moretti brand is its fastest growing beer in the UK, with sales rising by 37% last year and by 34% during the first quarter of 2012. The brewer expects sales to continue into the second quarter and is using the marketing campaign to strengthen the brand’s ties to food. Rivals, Peroni and Cobra have also established links between food and the restaurant sector in recent years.
James Woodman, senior brand manager for Birra Moretti, says the strategy will also look to take market share from wines and spirits in the on-trade.
He adds: “When guys go out to a nice restaurant with their partner then they will very rarely end up drinking a lager with their meal. With the Birra Moretti we’ve got a brand that’s premium enough to play in this space and take sales away from wines and sprits.”
“Everything we do is designed to drive sales for our customers and to raise the profile of Birra Moretti throughout the crucial summer sales period and beyond.”
Woodman says that the campaign will go after a more “mature drinker” and that activity will centre around ‘The Moretti Table’, which encapsulates the Italian approach to “food, company and great beer.”
The campaign has been developed in partnership with integrated agency Aesop and will run alongside Heineken’s major summer push for its Tequila flavoured beer, Desperados. It will feature activity at UK music and sports festivals as well as a nation experiential and sampling push.
Heineken wants to turn the brand, which is already sold in the UK, France, Germany Poland and the Netherlands into a global brand. The brewer is also looking to pursue similar strategies for its roster of “local beers” such as Foster’s and Sagres.
At the start of the year, the UK arm of Heineken retook marketing, sales and distribution of Desperados in the country.
The strategies are in part motivated by Heineken’s desire to appeal to older drinkers through its premium beers.