Carlsberg’s ‘Probably Not’ crowned campaign of the year

Carlsberg’s campaign, which is an inversion of its own tagline, has been voted the best of 2019 in a closely-fought final.

Marketing Week readers have voted Carlsberg’s ‘Probably Not’ as the best marketing campaign of 2019

The campaign had fierce competition from finalist Tesco’s ‘100 Years of Great Value’ campaign. Despite almost 20,000 votes, the result was split almost 50/50, with Carlsberg winning by just 135 votes.

Both campaigns fought off some tough competition from 14 other campaigns, knocking out advertising from the likes of Monzo, Warburtons and ITV across three rounds of voting.

The best marketing campaigns of 2019: Part I

Carlsberg’s ‘Probably not the best beer in the world’ campaign, devised by creative agency Fold7, is an inversion of its ‘Probably the best beer in the world’ tagline. Having admitted it had chased volume rather than quality, it set about totally revamping product.

This included a “head to hop” rebrew, new packs and glassware, and more premium positioning as a Danish pilsner.

Carlsberg 'probably not the best beer in the world'The campaign was a declaration that Carlsberg had lost its way, an approach the brand was rightly nervous about, but that also showed how vital it is to be honest with consumers. And so far it seems to have paid off, with awareness of Carlsberg’s advertising among British consumers doubling to 10.5 on YouGov BrandIndex during the campaign’s first four months.

Speaking to Marketing Week shortly after the campaign launch, Carlsberg UK’s director of marketing Lynsey Woods said the brand has been “overwhelmed” by the response from consumers so far.

“We were nervous [before the launch] because we haven’t done anything like this before,” Woods explained. “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.”

Carlsberg just pipped Tesco to the top spot in a result that could barely have been closer. The supermarket’s campaign, created by BBH, celebrated its 100th anniversary with a fun and nostalgic campaign featuring iconic moments from across the decades.

First, there was an ad featuring Mr Blobby, Wolf from Gladiators, 60s mods on mopeds and 70s roller girls. Then Tesco brought back Morph, his mate Chas, 90s fitness guru Mr Motivator and a jumpsuit-clad Anneka Rice.

The best marketing campaigns of 2019: Part II

As well as being celebrated for creativity, it had business impacts too. Sales of items featured in the campaign exploded, with Tesco selling 19.8 million grammes of Cathedral City Cheese online, more than 63,000 Peperamis and five-and-a-half times the number of Pizza Express large pizzas than in an average week.

Perceptions of the brand have been improving, according to YouGov BrandIndex data, with Tesco’s score for quality up 1.9 points year on year and value up 1.3 points. And, importantly, the pounds are on the up, with profit increasing by 12.6% in the first half of the year and profit before tax by 6.7%.

Congratulations to Carlsberg and Fold7 for winning and Tesco and BBH for coming in a close second.