Beer companies have not enjoyed the most profitable two years in their history. The financial figures reported for many major beer brands during the past 24-month period will not have made for particularly pleasant reading at their recent board meetings. However, steps are being taken within the beach-shack offices of Fosters lager UK division, under the guidance of a pair of unlikely philosophers who are quickly becoming acquainted with a great many amber nectar drinkers the length and breadth of the country.
Brad and Dan are the driving force behind the new Fosters Good Call campaign, aimed at improving parent company Heineken UK’s sales figures and, certainly, initial impressions of the campaign is that it has been warmly received by the UK public.
Adam & Eve, who took over creating campaigns for Heineken UK from M&C Saatchi, developed the advert currently showing on British screens. Previously, the Saatchi group had been responsible for many other Fosters adverts over the past 14 years and came up with the well-remembered taglines ‘Get some Australian in you’ and ‘Drink Australian, think Australian’.
Despite Heineken UK being impressed with the work of Saatchi and the image conveyed in their advertisements for the Fosters brand, the campaigns were only of limited success as they did not do enough to raise the profile of the drink and thus profitability for the parent company. This lack of return was the primary catalyst for a change in direction in terms of advertising and the switch from M&C Saatchi to London-based Adam & Eve, who developed the idea of Brad and Dan.
At first glance, the change certainly seems to be, as the advertisement suggests, a good call.
The series of adverts centres around two unlikely heroes, Brad and Dan. The two partners are stereotypical Aussie males in their 20s who love the beach, the lovely ladies, sports, a barbecue and a cool, refreshing can of Fosters beer always at the ready.
The first Fosters TV advert revolves around Benno from Southend, who is pondering the age-old dilemma of whether his current girlfriend is going to end up looking like her mother. Obviously, such a dilemma requires wisdom beyond Benno’s tender years and so he seeks the higher intelligence on offer from Brad and Dan.
What excellent advice they provide too: “Put it this way mate, did Scott ever think that the lovely Charlene was going to end up looking like Madge?” asks Brad, pullin2g a cool Fosters from the fridge. “Don’t worry about the future mate,” advises Dan “just enjoy the now!
“Who knows? She could turn out to be a Vorderman,” Brad offers, much to the delight of Benno, whose overly enthusiastic response to the thought draws stares of disapproval from the girlfriend and her mum in Southend.
The imaginative way that Adam & Eve has played with the notion of the stereotypical Aussie male beach bum and yet engendered such a warm response from the British public to Brad and Dan is particularly clever. Their intended audience, which consists of the notoriously difficult demographic of 20 to 30 year-old males, instead of being irritated by Brad and Dan, take comfort in their gentle, simple, typically Australian approach to many of life’s dilemmas. The gentle humour in the adverts is well conveyed and clever shooting means that the advert ticks many of the boxes to grab the attention of their target audience.
A similar format is used in the two other Fosters TV adverts. In one, Brad and Dan advise Tom from High Wycombe on how to deal with a friend who stands too close when he talks to them. Such a problem does not faze Brad and Dan who quickly identify the culprit as a ‘space invader’, with Dan observing: “A bloke who’s all up in your grill while you’re chewin’ the fat.” Once again in their inimitable Aussie way, Brad and Dan resolve the situation and get to enjoy a cool Fosters into the bargain.
In the final advert of the series, our Aussie experts offer their advice to Craigo, who is thinking of getting his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his person. Brad and Dan once again come to the rescue by offering Craigo the perfect solution to the dilemma, as well as Dan comically revealing that “the problem you get with a tuft sticker is that you can’t exactly rub them off.”
Certainly, the new campaign has already caused a stir among the target demographic. Across the pubs and clubs of the UK, Brad and Dan have quickly become a symbol for young male drinkers, who find the adverts amusing and resonant. We may laugh at Bradley’s unfortunate tattoo, but how many young men have toyed with a similar idea for their current girlfriend? Who has not wanted to know how to deal with a space invader? And what young man would not like to know whether his girlfriend is going to eventually turn into a clone of his mother-in-law?
As amusing as the advertisements are, they appeal not only because of the humour value, but because the themes are relevant and resonate with their target demographic. In addition, the characters of Brad and Dan may be stereotypes, but they are believable and above all, likeable. Who would not want the sage advice of two good Aussie blokes to hand when they face a moral dilemma or have an enquiry they need answering?
With the campaign also featuring a greater level of interactivity online, including Brad and Dan having their own Twitter account and Facebook pages, not to mention a revamped beach-shack themed Fosters website featuring our two erstwhile heroes, Adam & Eve have certainly made a promising start for Heineken UK in bringing the Fosters brand to a new generation of drinkers.
It remains to be seen whether Brad and Dan can change the outlook for Heineken UK and improve the profitability of the company, however given the success and appeal of the advert, it seems that company directors and shareholders should, like our Aussie heroes themselves, have no worries.