Maintaining growth in a market dominated by ‘Craft’
In a market dominated by niche craft beers, when research revealed that Pilsner Urquell’s taste was polarising, with a majority rejecting the brand based on finding the taste ‘challenging’, it was clear that the Original Pilsner from Plzeň had its work cut out if it was going to maintain relevance and continue to grow in these unpresidented times.
Not only did the taste this create a barrier with consumers, but it also led to customers and indeed Miller Brands to find the brand ‘difficult’ to support.
We needed a fresh approach and that meant going back the source of what made Pilsner Urquell so special.
Pilsner Urquell is the original style pilsner style lager, but whilst that’s an amazing fact, we needed more, we needed to make this actionable.
As we were the original pilsner style lager it was clear that nearly 90% of the beers brewed and drunk in the world took inspiration from our beer. This meant that we owned the authority on the most important part of the drinking experience, the taste.
We partnered with a leading organoleptic taste psychologist to tell us not only what the beer tastes like but also how people experience it.
Armed with this new understanding, and with taste now as the core proposition, a communication strategy was developed to create a “managed encounter” between the brand and consumers; guiding them through their first taste experience.
Creating managed encoutners
Driving Trial and immersion At the taste of London
The Taste of London provided the ideal platform to reinforce our taste credentials and reach the right audience. For 6 consecutive years, we created a high impact, immersive brand experience at the UK’s leading food festival.
All activations were centred on a celebration of taste and craftsmanship.
Experiences ranged from Brew master Václav Berka hosting a pour your own bar, guiding consumers through the three Czech pours to immersive hands-on experiences with delivered through the brewers and makers platform.
All activation was amplified via digital channels, media partnerships and on social.
The festival was also an excellent customer marketing opportunity.
DRIVING AWARENESS AND DISCOVERY
Leveraging media partnerships
We invited consumers to discover the brand on their own terms by providing stimulus which informs and interests them.
The Evening Standard media partnership
Tone is important for the target audience: Instead of talking to the target consumers about Pilsner Urquell, the communication framework was developed to show them what the brand is/does.
• The right media partner: A six month Evening Standard partnership (targeted London title, 341k weekly reach) combined both digital and press content-led advertorials; firstly establishing the concept of taste and then amplifying the taste-centred brand activations.
• This generated third party content that was informative, interesting and credible.
Activation in the on and off trade
Creating a one off event gave us a great way to articulate the brand but to maintain relevance with our audience we needed to connect with them all year round.
We developed a series of on trade activations that delivered a unique opportunity to taste the original Pilsner un-filtered and un-pasteurised, freshly tapped from an authentic, hand-crafted wooden oak barrel.
This activity was extended into the Off Trade environment with flagship events showcasing the brand in a retail environment.
In addition to our wooden barrel activations a series of brewers and makers events were staged in outlet to deliver the immersive hands on experience of the brand celebrating our authority on taste and our passion for craftsmanship.
These events provided an optorunity to engage with industry influencers, customers and our consumers.
Borrowing from the success of tank beer in Czech and Slovakia, we launched Tank Beer into three pubs across London.
The White Horse in Parsons Green, Draft House on Seething Lane and Strongroom Bar & Kitchen in Shoreditch are now showcase outlets for Pilsner Urquell.
Continued marketing support ensures the delivery of premium drinking occasions in the On Trade.
Advocacy through the Pilsner Brew Off
We created The Pilsner Brew off, a fully immersive campaign targeted at a select group of industry specialists from cellar masters to beer bloggers and influential journalists.
Across 2 days we invited our key opinion leaders to a completely bespoke, never before seen experience at The White Horse, Parsons Green.
Guests met Plzen-born brew master Václav Berka who revealed some of the secrets behind the brewing of Pilsner Urquell, before being given the chance to craft their own Pilsner.
Our leading taste expert Greg Tucker hosted a food and beer pairing lunch which showcased the versatility of Pilsner Urquell’s unique taste profile.
Each team’s crafted brew was taken away to be largered ahead of a judging event open to consumers. The winning brew was commercially brewed and sold at the European Beer Festival at The White Horse.
360,000 consumers reached.
Need and influencer strategy to help reach your audience?