Close Menu

Carlsberg taps into ‘curiosity’ and repositions its beer globally

For the first time ever, Carlsberg will run a global campaign across 120 markets to reposition its flagship beer brand.

The campaign focuses on how any progress in the world starts with inquisitiveness and aims to “reinvigorate curiosity” amongst beer drinkers. The activity has been planned to roll out across the UK, Asia, South America, Europe and the rest of the world throughout 2024 and into 2025.

Speaking to the drinks business, Carlsberg global brand director Lynsey Woods said: “We’ve been on a big journey for the last year and a half in terms of getting ready for our new campaign, our new positioning and a new creative platform.”

Woods explained that the repositioning campaign centres around “the idea that at every moment, there’s a spark of curiosity” and added that “obviously, we’re playing up to that a bit, suggesting Carlsberg was there for those big moments”.

The “sharpened positioning” has, according to Woods, followed “a huge amount of work in terms of looking into the archives and looking through everything that Carlsberg has done and how it has played a role in people’s lives. It was all about authenticity and bringing authenticity to life. Bringing that into our positioning is now a big part of Carlsberg”.

The idea of tapping into people’s curiosity stems from what Woods has outlined as the beer company’s intentions to “always make the best possible beer”.

She explained to db that historically “lots of decisions were made in terms of doing things differently. Some of those decisions were about using science at the heart of everything we do. At the Carlsberg Research Laboratory the very first thing that we did was we purified yeast and fixed beer for the whole world. Plus, the pH scale was invented there. It was always about beer quality for us. Every single element of improving our quality has come from this, this belief in science and what drives science. What drives any new innovation or any new thought? It’s actually curiosity”.

Woods told db: “We’ve had our current campaign for about seven years and it has been really successful. It has taken us to great places in terms of understanding our Danish heritage and our premiumness and all of the elements that we have wanted to establish. But, really, for the next phase of growth, we wanted to look at a new positioning.”

Carlsberg has said that it would not disclose how much it has invested in the campaign, but Woods hinted: “You’ll see our overall numbers in our annual report, but this is the biggest campaign we have run” and remarked on how it was already conjuring an emotive response from the research the team had already done.

Woods revealed: “We tested across all of our regions and many of our key markets and the emotional response was so strong – both in sort of the opportunity to drive long term sales growth and short term sales growth. There’s something in this work that just really appeals to consumers.”

The campaign will lead with a brand film sitting across social, digital, TV and film with the story taking a trip through the ages to discover how, through a spark of curiosity, music was born.

The ‘hop’ leaf from the Carlsberg logo will take centre stage in this new campaign and will become a more distinctive brand icon to drive recognition in addition to the brand’s iconic green colorway. Additionally, Carlsberg’s popular ‘probably’ tag will also remain an important element of the campaign and will be introduced through lines such as “Do the best things begin with curiosity? Probably” as well as the iconic “Probably the best beer in the world”.

The film itself features modern-day clubbers, jazz-era swingers, dancing Roman Legionnaires, flautist shepherds and whistling cavepeople and showcases how Carlsberg wants to bring fun to social occasions, especially when getting together with friends.

Woods told db: “What we want to convey is that energy, because Carlsberg is this hugely energetic organisation and that comes from this curiosity or this restlessness. It is part of our DNA.”

Launching first in Hong Kong from 1 April and in the UK from 1 May, the campaign will run across cinema, TV, online video and broadcaster video on demand (BVOD), consumer PR, customer relationship management (CRM), out of home (OOH), social media, e-commerce and internal communications as well as through in-store and outlet activations.

Accompanying the main brand film, there are going to be more than 100 flexible brand assets that will sit across all platforms, with assets for social media and e-commerce that introduce entirely new scenarios for consumers who are eager for content.

According to Woods, Carlsberg’s new campaign will be “much more appealing for younger generations, or the content hungry generation” and explained how “what we’re exposed to as consumers day-in and day-out, it’s a phenomenal amount of messaging and stories, so we are hoping that this will just be really entertaining and gives people a little bit of joy.”

She added: “We obviously need to appeal to a younger audience. You know, there’s no question that we have a lot of loyal Carlsberg fans across the world. But we need to stay relevant. The brand has stayed relevant for 177 years. That’s proof that we can continue to evolve and help the brand feel young and fresh. But when we talk about young drinkers, it’s obviously LDA.”

Woods also reiterated that big beer companies were not simply interested in making money and this repositioning was to show the many other roles the brand can play.

Woods said: “Consumers might believe that big brands are just there to make money. But actually, I think, for us, what we have and always talk about is how no matter how far you scratch beneath the surface of Carlsberg you just find more and more good stories. We are a force for good and for consumers that’s really engaging. If I have the opportunity to talk to consumers, they can’t believe how much the brand is contributing and on top of providing brilliant beer for everyone.”

She pointed out: “We’re not just a beer brand selling beer for the sake of beer, we have this huge extra pillar, which is the role in society that we play with the Carlsberg foundation. I guess the motivation for us as a team is knowing that all the beer that we sell, ultimately 30% of our dividends go to fund science. That’s hugely motivating.”

Essentially, Woods observed how “people love beer and love hearing about beer” but agreed that “it is getting harder”. The campaign has however left “no stone unturned” and according to Carlsberg there will be a lot of support to make sure all markets “have everything they need to give them every chance to be successful”.

Carlsberg concluded that the new campaign will reinforce the role beer plays in invigorating new thoughts, ideas, accomplishments and friendships. To emphasise this, Woods added: “Beer is here to provide people with a social moment. A great moment and a great night. That’s what beer is here to do.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No