Faced with a mar­ket in free- fall, a decade of de­clin­ing beer vol­umes and an iconic brand fast los­ing rel­e­vance, Lion was in need of cre­at­ing the next big thing. En­ter Stein­lager’s Tokyo Dry.

New Zealand Marketing - - Insight Creative -

The chal­lenge

Back in 2014, Stein­lager was at the cen­tre of a storm. Mak­ing up 52 per­cent of the mar­ket, main­stream beer was down 5.2 per­cent while the new kid on the block—craft beer—was grow­ing by as much as 17.7 per­cent. Beer in gen­eral was also los­ing favour, with 68 per­cent of marginal drinkers re­port­ing that they “didn’t like the taste of it”, and amid this was Stein­lager, whose prod­uct was down by 8.2 per­cent.

Lion also re­alised that for Stein­lager, the gen­er­a­tion gap had be­come a gap­ing hole. While its ‘New Zealand vs. the world’ po­si­tion­ing was once thought of as bold and de­fi­ant, the com­pany found it­self at odds with the coun­try’s new­est gen­er­a­tion who con­sid­ered them­selves cit­i­zens of the world. The be­lief sys­tem at the heart of the Stein­lager brand (to ‘ prove your loy­alty to New Zealand’) was no longer cut­ting it.

“Guys in their early 20s have a very dif­fer­ent idea about what they want to drink and the reper­toire is so much big­ger than it once was,” said Lion mar­ket­ing man­ager Michael Tay­lor back in late 2016.

“Beer hasn’t re­ally been con­nect­ing that well with them, and do­ing the same old thing with beer prob­a­bly isn’t the way to solve that.”

The re­sponse

Faced with a new cul­tural cur­rency, Lion and its five key agency part­ners ( TRA, DDB, In­house De­sign, Ge­om­e­try and Zenith Op­ti­me­dia) worked to cre­ate the next big thing for its flag­ship brand. Un­der­pinned by a de­lib­er­ately loose and grand busi­ness ob­jec­tive, Lion sought to build a vi­brant beer cul­ture that would ap­peal to the lat­est gen­er­a­tion’s as­pi­ra­tions to­wards creativ­ity and open- mind­ed­ness.

“We spent a lot of time talk­ing to young peo­ple and ask­ing them what their is­sues were with beer, and a lot of them said that they found beer too bit­ter and too heavy,” said Tay­lor. “And when we asked them what kind of beer they would want to drink, they’d of­ten say that they found Ja­panese beer quite re­fined, crisp and lighter.”

Thus, the idea of ‘a beau­ti­ful col­li­sion’ was born. It meshed Ja­panese mas­tery and ur­ban­ity with Kiwi pu­rity and in­ven­tive­ness to pro­duce the ideal beer. Tokyo Dry be­came a gal­vanis­ing force for Stein­lager, strik­ing at the heart of a gen­er­a­tion who as­pired to be cit­i­zens of the world.

Lion be­lieved that a beer cre­ated by con­sumers was sure to con­nect with con­sumers, which led it to em­brace a ‘cre­ation­ist cul­ture’ founded on the prin­ci­ples of de­sign- led think­ing. Cham­pi­oning things like flu­id­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tion, Lion and its part­ners worked to cre­ate a prod­uct and mar­ket­ing/ busi­ness strat­egy that would re­flect this new approach.

The cam­paign, de­vel­oped by DDB, hurls view­ers into a fan­tas­ti­cal dance un­fold­ing on the streets of Tokyo. Teem­ing with origami, bon­sai trees, ro­bots, lanterns and sumo wrestlers, it feels more like a mu­sic video than a beer ad, with World Hip- Hop cham­pi­ons The Bradas per­form­ing a high­en­ergy, an­thro­po­mor­phic rou­tine.

To com­ple­ment the ex­cit­ing vis­ual on­slaught on screen, Lion and In­house De­sign de­vel­oped an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing pack­ag­ing style that paid at­ten­tion to de­tail, go­ing as far as de­vel­op­ing a Hanko (name stamp) which would trans­late into ‘ Lion’. Fur­ther­more, thou­sands of shop­per dis­rup­tion ac­tiv­i­ties ( holo­grams, light boxes etc.) were ac­ti­vated to cap­ture au­di­ence at­ten­tion, while a branded con­tent cam­paign con­sist­ing of three short doc­u­men­taries was also launched via youth- ori­ented me­dia out­let Vice.

The re­sults

Stein­lager set out to at­tract a new gen­er­a­tion of drinkers to their brand, and found that with the launch of Tokyo Dry, around 11 per­cent of sales had come from shop­pers who hadn’t pur­chased in the cat­e­gory in the last three months, while 41 per­cent of sales came from those ad­di­tional shop­pers’ nor­mal beer pur­chases. The com­pany also ex­pe­ri­enced in­cre­men­tal sales of $ 2.6 mil­lion, with share growth go­ing from 0.6 per­cent to 11.3 per­cent.

While the beer mar­ket re­mains fiercely com­pet­i­tive with a stag­ger­ing 1329 new beer launches in the last 12 months, Tokyo Dry was re­spon­si­ble for con­tribut­ing $ 4.86 mil­lion ( or 40 per­cent) to new prod­uct sales.

The launch of Tokyo Dry cat­a­pulted Stein­lager back into pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion. View­ers re­ported a brand re­call of 59 per­cent ( the in­dus­try norm is 49 per cent) and a 13.3 per­cent up­lift against brand met­rics, as well as 63 per­cent of con­sumers stat­ing that Stein­lager was now mov­ing with the times.

Tokyo Dry be­came a gal­vanis­ing force for Stein­lager, strik­ing at the heart of a gen­er­a­tion who as­pired to be cit­i­zens of the world.

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