Carlsberg blandifies itself

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Carlsberg is currently rolling out an aggressive campaign aimed at doubling profits by 2015. The main plank of their strategy is a new positioning to ‘help the brand unleash its full potential’. Unfortunately, that positioning is a generic, unengaging and arguably derivative pile of toss.

In the UK, where Carlsberg’s long-running ‘Probably the best lager in the world’ advertising was hugely successful and popular, it’s already being noted that Carlsberg’s new work is little more than a poor man’s Carling ad.

As John Hegarty argued in his wonderful Cannes keynote a few weeks ago, brand growth is increasingly tied in to genuine difference. When confronted with a pack of brands, consumers are more than likely going to plump for the lone wolf. With ‘That Calls for a Carlsberg’, Carlsberg succeeds only in safely reinserting itself in the middling rank of beers. No one’s offended, nobody gets hurt. The brand goes nowhere.

Here’s the latest TVC. It’s rubbish:

Compare and contrast with the awesome new K-Swiss’ work featuring the Eastbound & Down character Kenny Powers as the shoe manufacturer’s fictional CEO. Tagline – ‘Shut up and buy them’.

Here’s a couple of the standout pieces of content:

Too profane and too niche for Carlsberg? Probably. But if a mass-market brand can’t risk doing something this brave on a global level, it should just forget about trying to develop global positioning statements that mean nothing to anyone. K-Swiss inserts itself into the cultural conversation. Carlsberg politely excuses itself and fades from view.

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