Over the last year, it has bolstered its marketing team - adding digital expertise - and is revamping brands such as its Honey Dew ale. In an attempt to tap into the interest in craft beer, last month Fuller’s rolled out Frontier, a product it describes as a "new wave craft lager".
But most of the brewer’s attention has been focused on overhauling the marketing of London Pride, its biggest brand.
A new positioning for the brand, ‘Made of London’, went live in May across press, outdoor and digital. The campaign, created by agency The Corner, aims to bring to life the heritage and provenance of the ale by championing its links to the capital through story-telling. A second phase with new stories is due out in October.
The campaign replaces London’s Pride work featuring Top Gear presenter James May which was built around blokey humour, using the strapline, "Whatever you do take pride".
Marketing caught up with Fuller’s marketing director Wade Crouch and brand manager Jonathan Norman at its Chiswick brewery and HQ to find out more about the repositioning of the brand.
What’s the thinking behind the new London Pride campaign?
JN: We did quite a bit of work at the back end of last year in terms of segmentation, motivation and attitude. What we found was that the brand was still strong - there’s a really loyal base to it - but what we hadn’t necessarily done was move with the times. People thought of London Pride as "traditional" and "a good pint" but nothing exciting. What we are trying to do is deliver that level of interest.
Why did you move away from the previous strategy?
WC: It’s a complete step change from James May. We were just reinforcing the message that consumers already knew, we weren’t giving them anything different so we didn’t want to go down that route again. It’s like preaching to the converted. They loved it, they drank it but it didn’t really appeal to anyone else.
That was the challenge we had, making London Pride more interesting, not just for current drinkers but for lapsed drinkers and other ale drinkers.
So is this also an attempt to target a younger demographic?
WC: What we didn’t want to do was alienate our current drinkers, it’s just about getting interested people to reassess the brand. They haven’t fallen out of love with the brand, they’re just trying new things. If younger drinkers come on board, fantastic.
What response have you had to the new campaign?
JN: Really good. We’ve had some pretty good feedback, people are enjoying finding out about the stories. One consumer wrote in and said it brought a tear to her eye. A lot of people didn’t know that we were still based in London. The brewery tour was fully booked for six weeks off the back of the advertising.
People often have mixed feelings about London. Did you not worry about anchoring the advertising so firmly to the capital?
JN: Within this market, provenance is hugely important to people. It roots us and helps us create those stories.