From the legendary “matter of fact, I’ve got it now” Vic Bitter ads to the notorious Toohey’s Dry “tongue” commercial, the history of Australian TV beer advertising is long and illustrious.
To assess the impact of beer advertising, market research agency Roy Morgan Research has measured the real-time reactions of a group of viewers to seven ads from beer behemoths CUB, XXXX and Lion Nathan.
To qualify for the study, respondents were required to have drunk beer in the last four weeks and be aged over 18.
The Reactor, an online tool that tracks and records viewers’ second-by-second emotional involvement and engagement with TV commercials, was used to find that a 2011 campaign for XXXX Gold came top in the audience’s affections.
In fact, the droll ‘Chicken Rotisserie’ commercial turned out to be clear favourite, showing as it did a group of friends attempting to rotisserie-cook a chicken over the engine of an old four-wheel drive. Men and women reacted similarly positively, resulting in a high score for overall likeability.
Interestingly, beer is not mentioned or dwelt on during the commercial—instead playing a supporting role, with the friends all holding stubbies of XXXX Gold).
Next, the dream-like Toohey’s Extra Dry “Nocturnal Migration” commercial, again from 2011, which featured herds of deer roaming the streets, clubbing and finding love, was especially well-liked by female viewers.
Then the quirky, neo-colonial, very Tasmanian “Waterfall” ad for Boags Draught was a hit with male viewers.
Carlton Draught’s famous “Slow Motion” commercial attracted mixed responses. Aimed squarely at young males (and liked more by men than women), it depicts a series of classic pub fails (appalling darts, daggy dancing, spilling beer on girls), played out in slow motion against a cheeky reimagining of a classic opera tune. Moments where the humour veers into crassness, however, met with immediate negative reactions from male and female viewers alike.
According to Michele Levine, chief executive of Roy Morgan Research, humour works well for this kind of advertising, and the most popular ads tended to be funny, although quirkiness—as was the case with the Toohey’s ad—is always well received.
But Levine cautioned that likeability isn’t the end of the story. “Viewers need to recall the product being promoted, and it was here that Vic Bitter excelled with its “Destiny” ad, despite it being one of the least liked commercials.
“These days, when viewers have more TV channels than ever to choose from, not to mention online alternatives, the most successful ads need to be both likeable and memorable—or risk sinking without a trace.”