Carlsberg brings its ‘Probably not the best beer’ campaign to TV

Carlsberg looks to bring its ‘Probably not’ campaign to a wider audience as it says it has been “overwhelmed” by the positive reaction so far, although it is too early to tell if it will lead to long-term success.

Carlsberg is bringing its ‘Probably not the best beer in the world’ campaign to TV as it ramps up efforts to drive reappraisal of the brand and the beer following its relaunch in April.

The TV spot shows Carlsberg’s Danish brand ambassador Mads Mikkelsen rowing a boat across a lake while confessing that “in the UK, Carlsberg pursued being the biggest, not the best and the beer suffered”. After enjoying a pint of the new Carlsberg Danish Pilsner, Mikkelsen hints at what “probably” happened to the person responsible for the old beer in the UK while looking into the depths of the lake.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Lynsey Woods, Carlsberg UK’s director of marketing, says the company wanted to “dramatise” its acknowledgement that its old beer hadn’t been the best while also showing the brand’s humour.

“If you think about the messaging before it was quite a serious message, obviously done with a bit of wit. This TV ad actually shows people that we haven’t lost our sense of humour,” she explains.

“TV, it’s still the best way to tell a great story to a mass audience and gives us the reach that we need and want.”

Carlsberg admitted that it is “probably not the best beer in the world” last month, inverting its famous tagline in outdoor ads and social media activity highlighting that it has prioritised “quantity over quality”. At the same time it introduced a rebrewed version of its beer, as well as new packs and glassware aimed at reinforcing the changes and its new, more premium, positioning.

READ MORE: Carlsberg admits it probably isn’t the best beer in the world as it overhauls the brand and the brew

The TV ad, created by Fold7, will air tomorrow (23 May) during Hatton Garden on ITV. It will then run throughout the summer on TV and digital channels.

“It feels big and cinematic and nothing drives emotion to quite the same degree as a film can”, Woods adds.

‘Probably’ the best reaction

Despite initial nerves about the campaign, Woods says the brand has been “overwhelmed” by the response from consumers so far. Certainly it drove conversation, with awareness of Carlsberg’s advertising among British consumers increasing by three percentage points to 9.7% and word of mouth exposure up 2.7 points, according to YouGov BrandIndex.

Woods says: “We were nervous [before the launch] because we haven’t done anything like this before. We hadn’t really lifted the lid and spoken so honestly, and I don’t think many brands do, but actually we’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response.

“All of us have been constantly on Twitter watching the campaign and conversation unfold. It’s exceeded our expectations in terms of the sheer amount of conversation that it has driven among consumers.”

However, initial figures suggest that so far the campaign has had a mixed impact on Carlsberg’s brand metrics. Consumer perceptions of its quality have fallen by 1.1 points, according to YouGov BrandIndex, while perceptions of value are up 1.5 points over the last six weeks.

Yet it does appear to be getting people to try the beer again. Consideration is up 0.5 points, with this rising to 3.1 points among former customers.

Wood says Carlsberg is still in the early stages of getting the new beer into people’s hands and acknowledges it is too early to see if the campaign will result in long-term success.

“It takes a huge amount of time to turn around a brand. This is a really big brand and we’re trying to do something monumental but right now things are on track and delivering in line with our expectations,” she says.

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