Newcastle Brown Ale, imported by Heineken USA, has launched its first television campaign.
The campaign includes three 30-second TV commercials with creative playing off the theme "Taste The Lighter Side of Dark."
Last year, that theme was used in videos on the brand's YouTube channel supported by an online campaign spanning music, entertainment and men's lifestyle sites (the brand's core market is men 21 to 34). One of those videos, "The Favorite" -- in which parents tell their son that he's not their favorite child, but give him Newcastle as a consolation gesture -- won a nomination at last year's Cannes International Advertising Festival.
The new TV spots, also from the Vitro agency, use dark humor to convey the ale's British origin and its message that it's "the dark beer that's easy to drink." Made specifically for the U.S. market, all take place in a real English pub (The Humble Dog), and all feature British actors. In each, a young man gets horrible news (a terminal diagnosis, a jail term, an imminent thrashing), but the bearers of the news (doctor, lawyer and "goon") soften their sentences slightly after sipping some Newcastle.
Newcastle has been nationally available at retail since the '90s (Heineken acquired it in fall 2008), but the pub setting also underlines the brand's "foundation" in on-premise consumption, notes Colin Westcott Pitt, vice president-marketing for Newcastle Brown Ale, Dos Equis and Amstel Light.
The ads will air in rotation from April 18 to June 20, and from August 29 to October 24, on CBS, ABC and cable networks including Comedy Central and TBS. The focus will be on the ale's strongest West Coast markets, but major metro regions including New York and Boston are also in the schedule, says Westcott Pitt.
Newcastle is now the U.S.'s leading imported ale and ranks eleventh among all imported beers on a volume basis, according to Heineken USA.