Marketing Essay

The two products that I chose to do my report on are Heineken and Carlsberg; both are lagers that compete in the same market. I found the Heineken advertisement in the UCD Student Union Fresher’s guide from the Year 2001 and the Carlsberg ad was taken from GQ magazine.

The Heineken ad features a police line up of various types of bottle openers. This familiar scene is probably most famous for the film The Usual Suspects, a hit movie staring Kevin Spacey. There are five bottle openers in the line up, which has the typical height markings behind the ‘suspects’ to add to the authenticity of the scene. Each bottle opener is unique and each one would fit right in, in any bar or at any party. To the left of the last bottle opener is the reflection of a Heineken bottle, which is obviously in the one-way-mirror-room picking out the ‘culprit’ from the line up. Below the picture, which takes up the majority of the ad, is the Heineken slogan “The last word in beer” and an opened Heineken bottle cap.

The Carlsberg ad I took from GQ magazine, a monthly ‘lad’ mag. It was one of four Carlsberg ads in the magazine, all of which are from the same advertising campaign. Carlsberg play on their slogan “Probably the best lager in the world”. They do this by having Carlsberg delivery vehicles pictured around the world at famous tourist sites, or in spectacular scenery. For example the four ads in the magazine had Carlsberg delivery vehicles, such as planes, boats and trucks, pictured in Venice, Islamabad, Tibet and the Canada. The ad that I chose to concentrate on had a Carlsberg airfoil landing on a lake in Maligne in Canada. The ad depicts a typical north American lake scene; the snow peaked mountains in the background, the perfect untouched lake showing a mirror image of the surrounding area, and a mountain cabin set on the lake with it’s own jetty. To the right hand side of the ad is an airplane, completely green only for the Carlsberg logo. The plane has just landed to deliver its cargo of Carlsberg beer and is making it’s way towards the cabin. Beneath the picture, which like the Heineken ad, takes up the majority of the space, is the Carlsberg slogan “Probably the best lager in the World”.

I chose these to products to do my report on because they are two products that I am familiar with, and the style of advertising that they use, whether it is on television or in a magazine, is usually witty and humorous. This humor is present in the Heineken ad, with the parody on the Usual Suspects line up. Linking the product to a successful movie is always a masterstroke if you can pull it off, Ray Ban did it with Top Gun, and Nokia did it with The Matrix. Although these were more direct methods of advertising, they were both product placement in a movie, this association by Heineken proved to be very sharp and was well received by their target market. In the ad each bottle opener is immediately recognizable for what it is yet they are all distinctly different. Having the reflection of the Heineken bottle in the mirror adds to the humor of the scene.

The Carlsberg ad on the other hand, takes a completely different angle. This ad is clearly meant to attract a more mature drinker, one who is inspired by beautiful scenery and appreciates nature. I find the ad visually appealing, with the simplicity of the scenery and the all green airplane combining well. It’s easy to look at, and the slogan below is well known amongst drinkers. Using different scenes from around the world, playing on the international brand that Carlsberg is, is very clever. However I find that if you single out one of the ads in this particular campaign, it really is not much to look at. It does have some visual appeal but other than that it is very easy to glance over.

If I had to pick between the ads I would choose the Heineken ad. My choice would be based on the humour used in the ad, which I feel makes it more interesting. In the modern advertising environment it seems to be commonplace that the big beer brands use humor in their advertisements, Budweiser proved to be hugely successful with their Wasssupp! ads. This run of the day humor that people can relate to is all over the television, both in the current Heineken and Carlsberg ads which feature humorous situations that the drinkers experience. Heineken tapped in to this humor when they launched their latest campaign (attached), where the personified bottle openers are stalker like figures that are obsessed with get their hands on a Heineken bottle.

I believe that a consumer product, should use in its advertising, examples of the product being used or conjure up memories of the product being used in the mind of the audience viewing the ad. The combination of the bottle openers and the bottle in the Heineken advertisement help the viewers recollect memories of actually going about opening, then drinking the beer. Which in turn associates it with nights out and the good times that one might have experienced. Whilst the Carlsberg ad brings up no real association with the beer itself, only with the brand name and it’s international popularity. I feel that this is what is really missing in the Carlsberg ad. It is an ad that I cannot draw an association with. However that is not to say that somebody who has been to a lake like the one pictured would not draw up their own association with the product it is just not effective on myself. The market that Carlsberg target is a predominantly male market which spans from 18 to about 35, but these ads that will only appeal to the minority of their audience.

Both Heineken and Carlsberg have drawn up their ads to keep current consumers of their product interested and also to attract new consumers. When people think of these beers they are both fairly similar, most people in Ireland would have Heineken, Carlsberg and Budweiser in the same bracket. Three of the most popular beers in the world, almost every bar has all three on tap and the majority of people have their favorite of the three but if worst came to worst would have no real problem drinking any of the three for one night if they had to. This is the obstacle that these companies have to over come, they are all vying for the same large market, the18 to 35 predominantly male drinker.
The Heineken ad has clearly gone for the younger age group, this is clear by the magazine that they were advertising in, a college freshman guide. This is a very good place to advertise especially in UCD. Heineken sponsor the European rugby cup, and the UCD rugby academy. The majority of college students who would go and watch a European rugby cup match would watch it in Donnybrook, which is only a ten-minute walk from UCD. So by sponsoring the rugby events and advertising in the fresher’s guide Heineken are attracting an audience of young male drinkers who play rugby a very popular sport in south Dublin. The long line of sponsored events, teams, and competitions founded the parallels between Heineken and rugby. Heineken have done some excellent marketing to capture this young male audience and by advertising in UCD Fresher’s guide they are cementing the popularity amongst their target market, it even has a popularly used nickname ‘Heino’. This nickname is derived from the stereotypical Heineken drinker, a young male living in south Dublin.

Carlsberg has a different objective in the Irish and U.K. markets to that of Heineken. They put most of the their sponsorship into soccer. They are the official sponsors of the 2002 World Cup, the Irish football team and they had their name on the Liverpool jerseys’ for years. This ad campaign is not trying to attract young male drinkers, when I say young I mean 18-21, it is going for the older age bracket from about 28-40. The picturesque scenery as a visual attraction would not really appeal too strongly to a young age group as much as it would to an older drinker, who believes that they are drinking a more sophisticated lager, one that embodies the spirit of the ads. Both beer brands are known for their quality, but where as with Heineken there is an image associated with the drink, Carlsberg try to play on their heritage and Quality. This heritage is very well depict in the ad, the rustic scene on a lake, where an old remote log cabin is receiving its delivery by what appears to be the only means possible. There is also an association with a seaplane, they are very extravagant rarely appearing outside of Hollywood movies, and even then their appearance is only in a major scene. By using the heritage and the extravagance of the cabin and the plane Carlsberg are showing their customers that their beer is a quality brand that is a cut above the rest and that the age of the brand name is testament to their quality.

The ads are very different even though they are similar products competing in the same market. Both beers are generally accepted, as quality brands people know by and large what they are getting when they buy a pint or a bottle of either. However Carlsberg being the older beer does have more of a heritage as such, they have been in production for longer and were the first of the mega beer brands to be created. This is an excellent advantage in their particular market, Levis has a similar advantage and they use it to it’s full benefit. Advertising every unique aspect of your brand is an excellent method to distinguish yourself from competitors, and to attract new consumers. When Tesco entered the Irish market they were very successful, but Dunnes reacted by playing on the fact that they were an indigenous business, and this helped offset some of the business that they lost to Tesco. Heineken use their current standing in the market place to their advantage, already comfortable with the knowledge that they are a popular beer with their market, they have chosen to demonstrate that they are a beer for the younger drinker. Relating to a recent movie and using a humorous take off demonstrates that they are in fact ‘in touch’ with the latest generation of drinkers. This method of trying to appeal to the latest styles and fashions goes on all the time in advertising and is probably most notable when celebrities appear in advertising. Pepsi would be one of the companies most guilty of constantly trying to keep up with the trends, having had music acts such as The Spice Girls and most recently Britney Spears appear in their television commercials only to be almost immediately replaced by ‘the next big thing’.

It is hard to measure the success of a billboard adverting campaign, most of the more notable have received coverage because of their lewdness more than the wit and intelligence that went in to creating them. One campaign particular that comes to mind was a bennetton campaign that was launched in Europe that never made it to Ireland. It featured a zebra mounting a black white horse, with the slogan ‘United Colours if Benetton’. This ad was very quickly banned as distasteful, and unsuitable for the large and varied audience that it would be exposed to. Although the phrase ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ springs to mind, the last thing Benetton needed after their problems with animal testing and the fires involved with their formula one team, was for a whole advertising campaign to be withdrawn. In recent years there has been a lot of controversy involved with advertising alcohol, there are censors that ban ads that depict alcohol in the wrong light, as a necessity or an anti depressant. Many people feel that companies that produce alcohol should not be allowed sponsor events. The same restriction was enforced on Tobacco companies, they are very restricted as to what and where they can advertise and also of their ad must feature government warnings in most western countries. In fact this type of restriction has already been enforced in UCD by the Students Union when they introduced their new Alcohol policy. The Heineken ad was on the back cover of the fresher’s guide from 2001, but all advertising for alcohol was prohibited from this year’s fresher’s guide.

When considering the impact that the two separate ads were intended to have you have to consider where in the magazine they were found. The Carlsberg ad from GQ magazine was a two-page spread located before the fashion section in the magazine. More and more magazines designate the first ten or so pages of their magazine to advertising, this is more noticeable in American magazines, which have up to twenty pages at the start of the magazines taken up by just advertising. The problem with a trend like this is that the reader would just skip through this large section already knowing what to expect, Carlsberg avoided this by placing their ad just before a very popular section in the magazine. The fashion section of a lad mag is always one that the more mature reader with an expendable income would browse through with some interest. This is exactly the type of person that Carlsberg are targeting and they have found the perfect platform to attract their market. The Heineken ad also used their placement in the fresher’s guide very well, the back cover of the magazine. This is prime advertising space and is always hotly contested for by major brands. The ad is sideways across the whole back page and is easily distinguishable as a Heineken ad. This is the page that is scene most by people, if the magazine is being read it is there to been seen by everyone, or if the magazine is lying down there is a 50-50 chance that it is the ad that is face up.

Given the restrictions that Carlsberg and Heineken have to obey when they draft up a new ad the two ads are excellent, they both send out attractive messages about the separate brands, and by doing so in a completely different manner. The prime market that the beers are competing for is so large that it is often broke down and this is done so by age, in this case. Both of the ads were placed very well in respective publications that are well known for a certain type of reader, and Carlsberg and Heineken used this to their advantage.

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