Premium lager Kronenbourg 1664 has gone for Parisian sophistication
in its new television campaign, abandoning the rustic image the brand
used to share with arch-rival Stella Artois.
Three 30-second executions by Young & Rubicam feature vignettes of city
life, with a humorous twist on French expressions. ’C’est la Vie’ shows
a young clubber failing to pick up a girl by buying her a Kronenbourg
1664, when she makes off with both their drinks and joins her female
In ’Deja Vu’ a young woman poses as a lost tourist to get men to buy her
a beer in the local cafe. And ’Savoir-Faire’ features a young man
jumping the queue at a crowded bar by using his mobile to place a
telephone call to himself.
’The proposition is to bring Kronenbourg 1664 to life as the best-loved
premium beer in France,’ explains account director Neil Davidson. French
styles can be expected to appeal to premium drinkers in Britain, as will
the reliability of French taste in matters of food and drink.
The shift to the city is intended to put a bit of distance between the
brand and Stella Artois, which projects a rural image in its
long-running TV campaign, originally based on the film Jean de Florette.
Kronenbourg commercials last year also featured the French countryside,
with two old boys in a vineyard bemoaning people’s growing preference
Kronenbourg is one of Scottish Courage’s three core brands, with
Foster’s and John Smith’s, all supported by substantial advertising
Its Frenchness is belied by the German-sounding name: it actually
originated in the 17th century in Strasbourg, straddling the
Premium lager is the fastest growing sector of the beer market, as
younger consumers seek out quality. Kronenbourg 1664 is the second
largest premium draught brew with 18% market share compared to Stella’s
28%, and Carlsberg Export and Heineken Export each with under 10%.
Kronenbourg has enjoyed year-on-year growth of around 20%, and the
current TV and cinema push is part of a pounds 10m spend aimed at
keeping the momentum going. It benefited from a press campaign during
the World Cup in France, including a guide to areas where matches were
’We are trying to increase brand saliency on a national basis,’ says
brands director Maurice Breen. ’Premium lager is biased toward the south
of the country where it continues to do well, but northern sales are
growing faster from a smaller base.’
The focus on women in two of the three commercials has been viewed as a
conscious attempt to win over female drinkers to what has traditionally
been seen as a male product. The company says that while this was not an
active part of its strategy, it recognises female purchasers are a
growing sector of the market.
That applies especially to the off-trade, as women often do the buying
for their partners or for parties, and can be influenced to purchase a
familiar brand even if they are not themselves regular beer
The campaign has been running since October and will continue next year,
with the theme of variations on French sayings likely to feature again.