I like a beer, there’s no point hiding it, it comes hand in hand with the Irish Brogue. So naturally, I pay a little bit more attention when new beer brands are born. So I was somewhat intrigued when I noticed the huge billboards on the end of Punt Road with colourful DNA graphics and a fancy boutique bottled beer. It was a new brand, 62 with the tag line ‘You know who you are’ and a descriptor ‘the perfectly individual pilsner’
I wasn’t intrigued enough to seek it out or try it, it didn’t seem like my kinda beer, a bit flash, for a fella like me. It wasn’t till stuck at the lights one day, I noticed the Coopers logo in the corner of the Ad and felt a thrill. Maybe this beer is worth my attention. Coopers are brewers I trust. They make great grog.
I love Coopers Ales, love the Pale, the Sparkling, their Stout and when I can find it their Extra Strong Vintage. It’s everything that’s good about Australian brewing, and smart about Australian Branding. We’ve written before about thier smart campaigns. They are grounded, honest and smart, It’s all about good beer. So it was, with a little excitement, I came across a bar draped with 62 beer mats promoting the very beverage. I sidled up to the bar, (the only safe way to approach a bar) bought a bottle, served with a nice branded glass and got stuck in.
What’s that taste in my mouth?
Heart-break. Disappointing to say the least, not much going on flavour wise, and an unpleasant aftertaste, now I’m not an expert, my imbibing is strictly at an amateur level, but I felt let down. (See what the pros think here.) I had the immediate thought that Coopers were making a play for the ‘Premium’ market with this bland tasting fancy looking beverage. Not what I would expect from the brewmaster at Coopers. It seemed to have the bitter aftertaste of a marketing department. It’s a dangerous thing for a brand to disappoint it’s admirers (New Coke anyone), and when a brand comes across as contrived like this, regaining that emotional connection can be impossible.
It’s not you it’s me…
Now it occurs to me why the Coopers branding was so subtle on the ads and the bottle. This product aimed at a different market from their other beers? It’s like they don’t want us to know what they’re up to. This beer is more about image than integrity, which chaffs against all I understood the Coopers brand to be. I have an irrational feeling that I’ve been cheated on by a brand I loved. Coopers have got all tarted up and are chasing a new market, mistakenly thinking there traditional market won’t find out or care. Now I understand the need for brand extensions and for a brewing company to make more flavours of beer, is only natural. Many breweries do it successfully, but as we’ve said before about brand extensions, they have to make sense to your customer. When it does this kind of damage to the brand you have to ask yourself, will it be worth it?
Well not for me, Coopers and I are going to take a little break. This experience has changed how I feel about the brand and I’m not sure I can feel the same again. I’m going to see other beers, ciders too. Coopers, I’m sure you’ll find someone new, I just hope it was worth it.
Derek Carroll, Creative Megafauna
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Tags: Advertising, Brand Agency, Brand Design, Brand Experience, Brand Strategy, Coopers-Ales, Corporate Image, Graphic Design Melbourne, Packaging, Promotional-marketing, Value of Design, Visual Language