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How This Beer Brand Engaged with Millennials


Joe Public Cape Town's executive creative director Brendan Hoffmann shares why the brand wanted to target the over 30s market and how they created ‘fake’ YouTube ads, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

How This Beer Brand Engaged with Millennials

With all things gen z – TikTok, NFTs, dance-focused and influencer-based content – there’s a part of the millennial market that brands are really missing out on – namely, the over-30s. To show this demographic the love they deserve, beer brand Hasna Pilsner came up with a genius way to filter out the younger viewers by tricking them with a ‘skippable’ YouTube ad.

In two spots created by Joe Public Cape Town, the audience is lured into what they think is an ad, with a ‘Skip now’ option, only to find that actually, the video is something altogether different than they imagined. Focusing on cars and treehouses, it’s clear that the campaign is targeted at the over-30 male demographic who would be keen to hear more about these fake topics, before getting into the actual messaging of the spot. 

As the protagonists get into fake tutorials, the creative execution made use of YouTube’s skippable ad format by allowing people to click away if it didn’t apply to them. Except, there isn’t actually a button and the topic soon switches to beer as it addresses the audience directly, saying, “You don’t need a beer that’s cool, you need a beer that’s cold”. 

To share more about how the campaign came to fruition, Joe Public Cape Town's executive creative director Brendan Hoffmann speaks to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani.

LBB> Tell us a little bit about what Hansa Pilsener wanted to achieve with this campaign and why millennials were the focus of the spot.

Brendan> Hansa is a much loved brand in South Africa, with a rich heritage. It’s the only commercial pilsener in the market but apart from this, the brand has lost its way in the minds of consumers. Our strategy was to focus on our core user base and to bring them back into the fold with a distinct value proposition, ‘Brewed From Experience’. These days, alcohol brands almost always target the 18–30 market, so we saw an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by talking directly to the over-30s.

LBB> What characterises the demographic and how did you play into that with the idea for the campaign?

Brendan> The 30+ demographic is not easily persuaded by the trends, NFTs, TikTok dances and influencers. They are more comfortable with who they are and enjoy authenticity over flash. To go with this, they also have a unique set of interests that separate them from the younger generation. These insights led us to create a series of videos that our more experienced audience would appreciate, and the younger generation would ignore.

LBB> Why did you choose to use the humorous tone of voice and combine this with faux-informative videos on topics such as mechanics and building treehouses?

Brendan> We knew humour would be a big win for our 30+ target market. We used humour in two ways, firstly to poke some fun at the younger generation in order to make our over-30s feel special. Secondly to entertain the viewer whilst we delivered the important messages about the brand, and why it is best enjoyed by the more experienced drinkers.

LBB> What was the process of creating a script to tie the spot together? What were some of the key phrases and lines you wanted to include to create impact?

Brendan> Scripting these ads was a very organic and collaborative process between the agency, client and director. The scripts are divided into two parts. The YouTube content section had to come across authentically whilst making the over-30s want to watch, and the under-30s want to skip. Once the story transitions to the bar, the script needed to then be entertaining enough to keep you watching, whilst weaving together the important brand messages like the ‘Unmistakable Kiss’ of the Saaz Hop, ‘150 Years of Brewing Excellence’, and the campaign line of ‘Only For Sale To Persons Over 30'.

LBB> How did you ensure the format accurately mimicked YouTube ads and what was the most challenging part of this process?

Brendan> Originally, we were going to have the camera track back to reveal that we are not in a treehouse or garage, but in a bar. But, this would have meant a uniform look to the video, which we didn’t feel captured the idea as well. Our director, Karien Cherry from Giant Films, came up with the idea of cutting to a second camera to reveal that we’re in a bar. 

LBB> You mention the spending power and brand loyalty of the millennial demographic. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?

Brendan> In South Africa, beer drinkers over the age of 30 make up about 40% of the market. This segment has strong spending power and brand loyalty. That’s a sizeable chunk of the market that a lot of brands ignore by only creating work for the 18-30 target market.

LBB> What would you say to brands who are missing out on this demographic? What are some of the benefits of tapping into the 30-plus market?

Brendan> Apart from the logical reasons mentioned above, the other great benefit of creating work specifically for the 30+ market is it’s an opportunity to make interesting and fresh work that hasn’t been seen before. 

LBB> Something is intriguing about seeing the ‘behind the scenes’ of the fake ad and being incorporated into the joke. Why did you want to make viewers feel like they’re ‘in on it’ so to speak?

Brendan>  We wanted these videos to play tricks with your mind a bit. We needed people to really think they were watching a YouTube content video and then, once all the younger viewers had skipped the video, needed to dramatically change into a more traditional beer commercial. We thought it would make a more fun transition if the characters in the ad were actually in on the trick, like they’d set this up in the bar themselves in order to make sure that only over-30s heard their message. If you watch the two friends in the background carefully, their performance is really funny in how they portray this story.

LBB> How long did it take to create both of the campaign videos and where will the audience be able to see them out in the wild?

Brendan> The project took about a month. Two days of shooting, and a couple of weeks of post-production. They are being promoted as pre-rollers on YouTube.

LBB> So far, what have the reactions to the spot been like?

Brendan> Very positive so far. Lots of views, lots of likes, and the over-30s seem to be enjoying it a lot! (And there are a couple of jealous under-30s too).

LBB> What’s next for the brand’s campaigns? Should we keep our eyes peeled for any more instalments in this format?

Brendan> We hope so! We’re currently rolling out the digital activation part of the campaign and some social media assets to follow as well.

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Joe Public, Tue, 15 Aug 2023 16:15:00 GMT