July 9, 2014 Garyeoghan

In The Sunshine: How Alcohol Brands Advertise Summer

We’re right in the middle of summer and with every glimpse of sun in the day, the inevitable texts and quick Whatsapps around half 4 for ‘a wee one at the beer garden’  or a ‘cheeky one after work’ are as inevitable as the expectation of rain tomorrow. Over the last few years, alcohol brands have been using the summer as their opportunity to flood the market with more ‘seasonal’ offerings. When in the past a trip to the bar in the summer involved making a decision on whether to have a pint of beer or pint of cider, now you have to make a life decision on which flavour out of a possible dozen fruity drinks is best suited to how you’re feeling today.

That’s why we decided to take a look at one drink in particular that is trying to make its way in to your hand on a hot Summer’s day: Fosters Radler.

There’s a good chance you’ve seen the ad above on TV. Fosters is probably one of the only brands in the world to work on the basis that the product’s associations are completely untrue, in that Australians don’t even drink Fosters. With no link apart from its ads, its surprising that it continues to be seen as the beer you’d imagine someone to be drinking at Bondi Beach and has to be applauded for sticking to its guns and maintaining the Aussie vibe. With the Radler, Fosters has decided to take quite a European move and use the term ‘Radler’. Many western European countries already use the term for describing fruity beer with a lower alcohol content. The UK is ever so slightly late to the party and is playing catch up in a big way.

strongbow dark fruit

Brands like Carling and Carlsberg are pushing their fruity beer options too, but not to such a degree as Fosters. Stella and Carling also have branched out by offering their own cider drinks in the hopes of taking a piece of the pie that Magners & Bulmers have been holding on to tightly, while Strongbow is  trying to beat everyone to the punch with their own fruity ciders like Dark Fruit and Citrus Edge that are essentially the ‘cider and blackcurrant/lime cordial’ you’d order someone at the bar, only presented in a more convenient way.

Fosters is our example of choice though because of how wide their campaign seems to be.In fact, one version of Fosters Radler has a 0{262b22605905d7bdadc9d0423a4a46028d1c16e5c2069f052c9de36584b442a6} alcohol content and could even be considered a soft drink. It’s an interesting case of one beer brand trying to extend their reach as a drink almost anyone can enjoy and turning the brand in to one that can be more attractive manner.

Fosters is doing what many other brands are also doing and trying to claw back a two fold consumer base that has been gone for some time: those who drink alcopops, and those who are leaving big name beers for craft beers. In order to do this the beer has to be seen as a wholly positive thing to have. So what you’re seeing is Fosters sponsoring a lot of comedy on television and using the hashtag #GoodCall with all their tweets. Perhaps this a good term to use as it can cover the entire fosters range, making it easier to follow their social signals and not confuse customers with too many options. It’s also a smart move because if they’d gone down the route of using #Radler, for example, they’d end up mixed in with a lot of European tweets about low cost radlers like this:

radler beer

Drinks like Fosters Radler are the kind that rely just as much about word of mouth as they do advertising. That’s why having the right social channels in order is paramount. We noticed that on their site they don’t have much in the way of action for you to get involved socially rather than this off place Like button:

fosters radler

Whereas Carling keep it simple with their menu:

carling site


But is having the right buttons and links in place for these products necessary? Well, yes. Any photo of the product someone takes is the perfect form of free advertising for any drinks company. Even we know that a photo with a really good beer is something to shout home about.

And when you see a photo like that at half 4 on a sunny afternoon, its a fair bet you’ll be known what to choose as your after work refreshment.

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