Badvertising: Carlsberg & The Feats Of Human Endeavour
Beer. Lager. Come on folks. We all love a nice cool, refreshing lager after a hard day sitting in the bedsit, angrily hacking words into our typewriters but lager advertising is notorious for playing up to ‘laddy’ stereotypes or generally misrepresenting the product as being anything more than yellow piss-water that no-one in their right mind would splash out three quid on.
Beer advertising is a minefield. On the one hand you have pressure from the public saying “GIVE US MORE BOOZE AND GIVE US IT CHEAPER!” and on the other there is pressure from regulators and central government saying, “DON’T GIVE THEM MORE BOOZE, THEY KEEP HITTING EACH OTHER WITH BROKEN BOTTLES!”
Under such pressure it is difficult to encourage people to consume the product in quantity which, make no mistake, is exactly what alcohol manufacturers want you to do. The more you buy, the more they sell to pubs, clubs, supermarkets and off-licenses.
The more you drink, the more you poison your liver, the more money they make. They’re like drug dealers or tobacco companies. Or are they?
Yes. Fundamentally speaking, they are.
Therefore the companies have to work much harder to make sure that their products are distanced from the actual aim of the thing and are seen more as rewarding you for a hard day doing whatever the hell it is that you do with your day. As such, you’ll have noticed a move towards the aspirational side of things. Carlsberg have moved from their “If Carlsberg Did…” campaign, as people were beginning to realise that Carlsberg isn’t the best lager in the world- not even close.
According to a website all about advertising (that actually believes the nonsense they write:
“The aim of the re-launch was to focus the brand around a universal human truth — the connection between endeavour, achievement and pleasure. This is captured in the new tag line “That calls for a Carlsberg”. The creative reflects on the pleasure of an ice cold beer as a reward for achievement.
The opening thematic campaign features landmark moments in history, giving them a twist and placing Carlsberg as the reward.”
Yes, that’s exactly what they’ve done…
EVEREST! One of man’s crowning achievements. The cold, the sheer altitude and the time it takes to climb, it remains one of the most mysterious and tragic locations on earth. Everest is so rooted in the mind as being a challenge that we refer to our biggest life challenges as being our ‘Everest’. It’s one of the focal points of human endeavour.
You would never look at a person who had just climbed Everest and call them a berk. You would look at them with appreciation for their resolve and respect for the mountain that they conquered.
It’s hard to imagine standing on Everest’s peak, looking out across the entire planet (okay, not quite) from its highest point. It would surely take your breath away, if the thinness of the air hadn’t done that already. It’s easy to imagine long minutes of stunned silence and reflection from the expedition while they take time to absorb the full scale of the task they had just accomplished. It’s a life-changing moment.
It’s a champagne moment. It’s a really expensive malt whisky moment. It is, if you’re pushed, a really good Czech beer moment. It is not a moment where you whip out eight tins of 3.8% abv Carlsberg and toast to the achievement before smacking each other about because someone “looked at the Sherpa funny”.
Carlsberg, at a push, is a reward for all the other taps in the pub being off or for it being on special offer in a club. It is absolutely not the reward for life-changing, momentous events because, by that logic, If Carlsberg Made Human Endeavour Then It Would Be A Massive, Piss-Weak Let Down.