Brewer Lightens Up in Argentina

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Brazilian brewer Compania Cervecera Brahma Argentina is using the Internet as part of an integrated marketing effort to reposition Argentina's second-largest-selling beer in a lighter vein.


Aimed at heavy beer drinkers ages 18 to 25, the campaign zeroes in on the beer's attributes, moving away from marketing that focuses on Argentine nationalism and friendship.


"We believe beer consumers have evolved and are much more strict now," said Dario Lanis, president and general creative director of CraveroLanis Euro RSCG, the Buenos Aires, Argentina, agency on the account. For years they have been overwhelmed with emotional messages. Today, they're better prepared. When someone is about to buy a beer at the store, he cannot be convinced with purely emotional messages anymore. You have to offer him intrinsic benefits of the product."


The strategy was developed around the theme "RefrescanteMente Brahma." This is Spanish for "refreshingly," with the "refrescante" meaning refreshing and "mente" mind.


"The campaign was to communicate the concept in the physical as well as in the emotional level," Lanis said. "That is to say, we had to transmit the idea that Brahma cools your body and your mind. That is how we arrived at the 'RefrescanteMente Brahma' concept, which covers both aspects and makes a difference within the category."


Working with Brahma's marketing department, CraveroLanis used the central attribute of refreshing on the www.brahma.com.ar site and in media such as direct marketing, billboards, print ads, point-of-purchase material, promotions, alternative media and three television spots.


The Internet role is to bring consumer and beer brand closer. Consumers who visit brahma.com.ar can design their own Brahma billboard. The site also lets consumers organize Brahma parties. They can order Brahmas online and find tips for successful parties.


Regarding the Internet, "the challenge is to achieve greater interaction with consumers, to have feedback and to integrate consumers in the campaign in an effective way," Lanis said. "The Internet is also expected to add dynamism and to be one more channel for the brand."


Another tactic were the TV commercials. The first 40-second spot ran in August, the second 43-second spot the next month and the final 47-second ad began in November.


Each had a different story in the series called Voodoo. One shows a jealous ex-girlfriend putting a lighter flame to a voodoo doll of her ex. In a pub at the time, he starts sweating profusely. He orders a Brahma and suddenly cools down. The voodoo doll is then shown relieving itself on the lighter.


Top-of-mind brand awareness grew 57 percent after the TV spots began.


For billboards, the agency set up special lighting to highlight billboards based on driving and walking traffic. This outdoor effort registered 7 percent to 8 percent awareness, almost double the typical 3 percent to 4 percent index. It helps that the Internet plays a key role in billboard art, which consequently is more in tune with consumer tastes.


Interestingly, CraveroLanis had to give up the Budweiser account in Argentina to participate in the pitch for Brahma. The agency took the risk mainly because of its experience in handling beer advertising in that Latin American market.


What makes this campaign unique is that it repositions a brand and redefines a category based, until now, almost exclusively on emotional values.


Early results indicate the campaign is achieving its goals. Not only has Brahma consolidated its No. 2 position in the beer market, but market share is up from 15.8 percent before the campaign to 18.4 percent after CraveroLanis snared the account. Quilmes is the No. 1 beer in Argentina with 65 percent of the market. Brahma has offered to buy 35.6 percent of Quilmes.


"We understood how the beer consumer feels in Argentina," Lanis said. "We knew we would not convince him by telling him nice friendship and patriotic stories. He wanted something else to decide which beer he should buy, and we gave it to him. We gave him a rational argument. We told him that if he drinks Brahma, he cools his body and then experiences other emotions."


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