Camden Town Brewery ‘Recall’: A barrel-load of issues

camden1With summer back on the cards (well, for the next few days at least) and Covid restrictions easing, at last we have something to cheer about – and what better way than to crack open a few craft ales?

Enter Camden Town Brewery’s first national TV campaign, perfectly timed to bring the brand to a much wider audience.

Following on from last summer’s campaign, which offered no less than 45,000 free beers, the new work is also designed to hand out freebies, only with the twist of being positioned as the world’s first “positive” beer recall.

Devised once again by Wieden + Kennedy, the ad takes the format of a breaking news announcement from Camden Town Brewery, fronted by three illustrated characters. The lead character, voiced by comedian Lolly Adefope, then announces a voluntary recall of a small batch of the brand’s popular Hells Lager which has been accidentally pasteurised.

Running over four weeks, the spot is apparently designed to educate beer lovers that pasteurising – which involves heating beer – is the biggest mistake Camden could ever make.

To support the activity, the brewery has actually seeded 50 pasteurised cans across the UK with warning stickers urging drinkers to call a hotline. They will be compensated for the “damaged” product with a year’s supply of fresh, non-pasteurised lager, with a case of 24 cans of Hells, delivered to the winner’s door every month for 12 months.

Camden Town Brewery’s brand marketing manager Vivian Ly has been doing the rounds of the trade press. She told one: “We pride ourselves on being a really creative brand and approaching things in fresh and exciting new ways.

“Our brand ambition is to continue to grow national awareness and we think the concept of the recall really brings to life the effect of pasteurisation on beer, which can be a somewhat complicated message for consumers to understand.

“For us, it really impacts the taste of beer and a fresh-tasting beer is extremely important to us. For us, it is intuitively wrong to heat up a beer because after that it is no longer fresh.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, let’s be fair, free beer is never to be sniffed at but sadly this ad fails from the outset. Whereas last year’s activity was quirky, this is just steeped in confusion and does little to promote the brand.

OK we get they wanted to do something different, but why, oh why, they think there is such a thing as a “positive” brand recall, is anyone’s guess. Instead of looking like they care about the quality of their beers, it looks like they have made a cock-up.

Free beer or not, this is a decidedly off…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “nasty niff” 5 out of 10

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