The reluctance of Whitbread and other beer marketers to use above-the-line marketing communications as reported in your Cover Story “A test of strength”, (MW February 19), should not be seen purely as a reaction to political correctness.
All markets have different communication requirements and below-the-line methods can be more effective when building a relationship with consumers and establishing brand values within your target market.
Certain power brands such as Carlsberg and Tennent’s are ideal candidates for direct marketing because it can focus on those consumers who genuinely buy into a brand’s value.
The size of the market is a major factor in determining what type of communication to use. Above-the-line techniques will not always be cost effective.
Considerations such as the sensitivity of the product can play a part in deciding how to communicate the usp, but ultimately different communication methods need to be considered on the basis of how effectively they can build the relationship with the brand.
A true relationship marketing programme can help avoid the moral spotlight through tighter targeting. Additionally a concurrent campaign targeting independent retailers would provide much needed support within the trade.
A commitment to relationship marketing allows brewers to maximise a lucrative market and consumers of superstrength lagers to receive communications that are appropriate to their interests.
It also gives an assurance that the Portman Group guidelines are being adhered to.