Newcastle effort focuses on surviving the holidays

SAN DIEGO: Newcastle Brown Ale has partnered with celebrity chef Sam "the Cooking Guy" Zein in an effort to make holiday-season entertaining less stressful.

SAN DIEGO: Newcastle Brown Ale has partnered with celebrity chef Sam "the Cooking Guy" Zein in an effort to make holiday-season entertaining less stressful.

Michael Olguin, president of Formula, the brand's San Diego-based AOR, said the national campaign was launched in early November and revolves around Newcastle's irreverent-but-informative Holiday Survival Guide, written by Sam, a Discovery Health TV personality.

A significant PR effort will include heavy outreach to daily papers and appearances by Sam on morning TV and radio shows. PR efforts are scheduled to run through New Year's.

The guide is available for free at about 5,000 retail locations. It features simple, Newcastle-inspired seasonal recipes, from ale-infused Bloody Marys to stuffing-loaded omelets.

According to Bill Wetmore, customer marketing director for Scottish & Newcastle Importers, the Holiday Survival Guide promotes the brand's desired "smooth like no other" positioning - but adds a holiday twist.

From a strategic standpoint, Olguin said, the guide further embeds Newcastle in the food-pairing space, but it also emphasizes a holistic approach to seasonal stress reduction.

In addition to recipes, the guide features Sam's "regular guy" lifestyle-craziness solutions, all accenting promotional partner discounts from relevant brands including RoadRunner Sports, V-Moda, Head snowboards, and Skyy Vodka.

This marks Newcastle's second effort with Sam, who first teamed with the brand for a spring/summer 2007 grilling season campaign. Newcastle plans to partner with him for a spring/summer 2008 program, as well.

"Sam is a real guy's guy, consistent with the brand's core 25- to 34 male consumer," Olguin said.

An exact campaign budget was not available. But Olguin noted that the effort was "affordable," estimating its cost at "less than $35,000, from start to finish."

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