Setting their sights on creating the perfect Australian lager, winemakers Casella look to interactive experience agency AnalogFolk to help them engage Australian beer drinkers and discover what they most want in a beer.
“The Perfect Lager Project was born from a pretty simple insight into the category: that the world of beer is dominated by cues of heritage and history,” says AnalogFolk’s Managing Director Matt Robinson.
“We wanted to challenge that and be a beer brand that was future-focused instead. That meant involving consumers from the word go, which we believed would create a powerful group of advocates before the product had even launched.”
The first phase of the Project ran from April through to the end of May and centred on a custom iPhone app that allowed beer drinkers to log their preferences on bitterness, aftertaste, etc., as well as details on when and when they prefer to enjoy a beer.
Clever functionality also allowed users to take a photo of the label on the beer they were drinking, with the app registering the brand and its associated characteristics.
The second phase has seen Casella release two versions of Arvo, known imaginatively as Arvo 34 and Arvo 51 (their respective brew batch numbers), each tailored to match the two most favoured flavour profiles revealed during phase one.
Arvo 34 and 51 are now available for purchase and are facing off in a drinker-voted death match held at ArvoBeer.com, with only the winning brew going into full production.
Radio, outdoor, sampling, online, Facebook ads, print, and a media launch event have all helped drive awareness of the campaign. Even cinema marketing has got a look-in.
“We've created a 3D ad which launches with The Amazing Spiderman, and a 2D version for The Dark Knight,” says Robinson.
The Perfect Lager Project’s scope has required a host of targeted expertise. FutureBrand collaborated on brand identity and positioning, Engine worked on film production, Pearman Media handled the media buying, Premium Media ran launch event production, and Soup were responsible for recruitment of social influencers.
“AnalogFolk have been responsible for leading the communications strategy and then work with the other agencies to ensure that the work they do feeds into an overarching activation plan that we also manage,” says Robinson. “Everything else, from digital, packaging, sampling, events, advertising and social media was run by AnalogFolk in collaboration with the team at Casella.”
It is hoped that the app and subsequent voting will help drive lasting consumer engagement with the Arvo brand via social media platforms.
“Our aim has been to create a whole string of positive brand experiences, from rating beers, to the copy that is shared on to Facebook when our participants rate a beer, to the copy on the limited edition packaging design, the vote, and of course the two beers themselves,” says Robinson.
“At every opportunity we've stitched technology and social media into those experiences, so that consumers can easily share them. The entire strategy was built around participation and advocacy - and without doubt, for our audience a lot of both of those things happen through social media. Predominately we've focused on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for the launch but will expand these out into new channels like Instagram and others as the brand grows.”
Public reaction to The Perfect Lager Project has been enormously enthusiastic. “The participants of The Perfect Lager Project have been incredibly vocal in their feedback on the two beers (mostly positive), and we've had a whole bunch of photos sent in or posted to Facebook,” says Robinson. Significant media interest hasn’t hurt either.
“We've had some great PR coverage in traditional media, with the Perfect Lager Project also being picked up across a large number of blogs and creating Twitter discussion—particularly in the (very passionate) beer community.”
With AnalogFolk claiming almost 10% of Arvo’s annual target already pre-sold before official launch, it’s hard to dispute The Perfect Lager Project’s success.