From functional to emotional: Amstel serves up Nadal to stand out from low alcohol crowd

Amstel’s global brand director says the brand’s latest campaign is a move to differentiate from rivals who pitch the functional benefits of low ABV drinks. 

Amstel is aiming to differentiate itself within the market for low alcohol, low calorie beer, by pushing a more lifestyle-centric campaign starring tennis star Rafael Nadal.

This is a shift from the Heineken-owned brand’s previous functional messaging.

“The whole purpose of this campaign is to move a little bit away from the functional discussion and bring a bit more on the emotional side of things,” Amstel’s global brand director, Bernardo Spielmann, tells Marketing Week.

“There’s a clear focus on the freedom of choice, and exploring the real pleasures in life. Luxury today for the target audience has evolved from status symbol to more simple choices of how to make the most of your time with friends and family.”

The brand did extensive research before selecting Nadal as its spokesperson, which revealed him to be a role model to consumers who work hard and play hard, but drink moderately.

“We did some research in advance and we did some social monitoring as well to try to understand which profiles could fit in, and we saw that he was a perfect fit,” explains Spielmann.

“Rafa embodied this active lifestyle but also someone that has been through life in a very balanced way, keeping his private social moments as very treasured moments with his friends and family, so that came across really well for us.”

The ‘Choose Your Way to Live’ campaign launches today (20 May), and includes two hero ads for Amstel Ultra and Amstel 00.

The ads show Nadal at the end of the tennis season embracing, enjoying the time with friends and family, enjoying the ‘nightlife’ with a late-night run or camping out with friends in ‘six-star luxury’ under the stars.

They end with Nadal ordering an Amstel and the tagline ‘choose your way to live’, alluding to the beer’s low alcohol and low calorie count fitting active lifestyles.

The ads will launch first in Mexico and Spain, with 10 more markets later this year.

Awareness drive

The main point of success for the campaign lies in driving awareness for the brand says Spielmann as the brand rolls out its low alcohol and calorie options globally.

He notes Amstel Ultra’s core market is Mexico where the brand began its positive lifestyle campaign and has proven to drive awareness for the brand, a feat it hopes to replicate in other markets.

“The main ambition again is to drive awareness, and it’s a really special campaign because we are tackling on two different fronts. With Amstel Ultra we have Mexico as the core market and it helped us roll out the brand into new markets globally. And then with Amstel 00, we are launching Spain, which is our biggest market for 00 in the world, and we want to really expand the business there.”

The campaign was created as Amstel realised it needed a marketing platform that is universal in message and “built beyond the functional benefit pitch”. Spielmann says this change in marketing strategy is to pivot away from competing with rivals for awareness with low alcohol and calorie counts endlessly.

“We needed a tangible platform that we built beyond the functional benefit pitch or association. That’s where, of course, the partnership with Rafa Nadal comes into play to make it a little bit beyond that story of fewer calories.

“We can easily go into a very narrow competition [with rivals comparing alcohol level and calorie count]. So, this is kind of the different approach that we’re taking to make it a bit broader and more on the lifestyle,” says Spielmann.