Heineken’s Birra Moretti on why its first TV ad is the ‘final piece of the jigsaw’

The Italian beer brand discusses why building a brand is like “building a house” and why TV is still crucial to attracting new consumers.


Birra Moretti is launching its first TV campaign, the “final piece of the jigsaw” when it comes to scaling the brand.

Mark Noble, senior brand manager for Birra Moretti, tells Marketing Week: “Scaling a brand is about a combination of things: it’s TV, it’s experiential, it’s digital and it’s cinema. This year for the first time we’ve brought the whole package together and TV is the final piece of the jigsaw in that package.”

Heineken UK conducted a “huge” piece of qualitative research ahead of the campaign, which revealed people enjoy their busy lives and aren’t looking to slow down.

Noble explains: “We found was people said, ‘I don’t want to be any less busy because I enjoy my life but there are casualties to that’. So it’s never your boss or the girl you fancy but it’s actually the people closest to you who will suffer from your busy schedule, because you think your parents will always forgive you if you cancel.”

The TV spot is about encouraging consumers to make time for those important relationships.

Why building a brand is like building a house

Noble says: “We started out as a small brand but we’ve nurtured and cared for it and done things the right way, so now we’re ready for a TV campaign.

“I look at it like building a house so you can do all the fancy exteriors and interiors but unless you’ve got your foundation right it’s not going to be a good house.”

Last week, the Italian beer brand launched its biggest experience yet at British Summertime Festival, an open house experience called ‘The Gran Tour’, created by agency Space, which included cooking masterclasses and live music. The experience has evolved over the past five years and Noble says it serves as a microcosm for the brand’s growth.

He explains: “We’ve been getting our foundations right and getting people who really love the brand. From here on in it’s going to get bigger and better. We started with smaller experiences and now we’re at British Summer Time.” he explains.

The brand collaborated with small independent Italian street vendors and Noble says it has been “a pleasure” growing in tandem: “Pizza Pilgrims just had a truck when we started working with them and now they have six or seven locations.”

He added: “The credibility [starting small] gives us with the wider public is much bigger than if we tried to go too big too quickly. It’s trying to do things slowly and having patience. This was a way of doing that really well and keeping that authenticity.”

Birra Moretti is now “very strong” in the overall beer market, according to Noble, despite its market share being in a “single digit percentage”.

“It’s the fastest growing alcohol brand in the UK in the on-trade,” he claims,  “and although our market share is still small, the growth is exciting – we’ve grown double digits if not triple digits every single year for the past five years.”

The key to that growth has been staying true to the brand’s philosophy, Noble says.
“It might sound like marketing jargon but our philosophy is ‘great beer, great food, great company’ and everything that we try and do ties back to this thought. It’s all about putting the beer in the hands of as many people as possible.”

TV is the next step in achieving this goal and despite the rise in digital Noble is adament TV is still an integral part of marketing.

“At Heineken UK we talk about the penetration game which is about trying to introduce as many new people to the brand as you possibly can and I think TV still has huge a role to play as it delivers huge reach .”