spacer
The Vacuum Issue 12 Down Mexico Way spacer The Vacuum Issue 12 - Down Mexico Way
Thread of Knowledge
by Duncan Ross
spacer
[Factoid Before the Nazi party appropriated the Vedic svastika it was the corporate logo of the Carlsberg Brewery and adorned their Copenhagen HQ.]
spacer
In the early sixties lager was thought of as a 'woman's drink'. Breweries then needed to convince men that it was part of their drinking culture as lager is cheaper to produce and can be easily pasteurised giving an extended shelf-life. Lager is cheap to make + men drink a lot = get men drinking lager. Simple common business-sense. Thus began the last forty years of aggressive lager marketing, which has to continually reiterate that the product is a man's drink and that drinking more of it makes you more of a man.
spacer
[Factoid Newcastle Brown Ale originates from a management plan to dispose of the left-overs from Scottish and Newcastles main products by mixing them together and selling them as a 'Brown' Ale. Thus the alcoholic equivalent of the Bourbon biscuit was born.]
spacer
Modern pasteurised, canned beer products are known as 'Session Lagers' in the industry. The manufacturers encourage multiple unit purchase per session by packaging the beverage in seductive 12 and 24 packs and portraying drinking as a competitive activity through such psychological devices as juxtaposing the product with sport and depicting drinking as a group activity (male grouping = internal competition). Most tellingly the alcohol content of session lagers is deliberately kept as low as possible so young men need to buy/drink more of them before becoming intoxicated. This tactic provides the amateur market analyst with a method of monitoring the success of various brands. For instance I would say Carlsberg at 3.9%abv is currently performing well as drinkers have to buy more of them to achieve the same effects as 4.5%abv beverages; yet their brand image is still strong enough to disguise the sorry alcohol content of the product. In contrast Tennent's recent advertising promotion of a 4.2%abv to a 4.4%abv content rise would suggest corporate concern over a weakening drinking base as an increase in alcohol content has to be a last measure in encouraging brand consumption(ie. the abv increase may mean more drinker switch-over to the brand but this would be off-set by a decrease in the amount of units purchased-per-session due to more rapid intoxication) surely a big gamble for the Scots hop-merchant.
spacer
[Factoid Five years ago the management of Heinekin Brewery sent correspondence to the producers of an ITV youth programme they were sponsoring complaining that there were too many black people in the programme and that this would damage their brand.]
spacer
We all know alcopops were originally aimed at children who would then mnemonically bond with the product and continue buying into and beyond their legal drinking age. These products are now less heavily aimed at under-eighteens as the originally targeted teen-drinkers are now well above legal age and unknowingly providing the marketing for the companies by staggering around cunted every weekend, pineapple Hooch in hand. To put it another way, twenty-something Alcopop drinking is now culturally accepted which means the children which would have been targeted by advertisers a few years ago need now look only to their drunken elder siblings to associate Breezer-swigging with an image of adulthood.
spacer
[Factoid The results of consumer taste monitoring for the introduction of new brands repeatedly indicate the least favourable colour for a drink is black. The two most recognizable and enduring international beverage brands however, are Coca-Cola and Guinness.]
spacer
The on-going alcopop story is particularly worthy of interest when compared with the aforementioned strategy of the 1960's breweries to re-package lager from a 'woman's drink' to a 'man's drink'. Originally inclusive of the late teen, early twenties female drinker, whose sweet teeth were honed on vodka + Coke downed on street corners, alcopop advertising is now exclusively aimed at men. Witness the recent aggressive re-marketing of WKD as the beverage of choice for the blokish, new-lad. Cheeky 'we-know-the-score-boys' posters now decorate men's urinals, sharing their narratives with TV advertisements in the traditional jocularity/fraternity-over-a-few-cans-of-pasteurised-alcohol-product mode. Manufacturers know they have to get the drinking public accepting alcopops as masculine, as this is where the lucrative 'session' market lies. This tactic is most overtly expressed in the decision of the Smirnoff Ice producers to introduce their foul lemonade as a 'draught' product in a bid to entice male drinkers through association with lager culture
spacer
[Factoid The SMP for Ayrshire recently made a diplomatic trip to Buckfast Abbey in order to prevent the monks selling their tonic wine in her constituency (the infamous Buckfast Triangle).]
spacer
spacer
home | information | issues | artists & writers | columns | reviews
spacer