What did this client want Tangerine PR to do for them?
JW Lees wanted us to establish MPA (Manchester Pale Ale) as a ‘real refreshing alternative’ for the younger real ale market. We needed to create brand standout and national awareness of the beer with consumers, key influencers, customers and JW Lees’ internal team too – all with the ultimate goal of increasing sales.
It was about changing perceptions, both within and outside of JW Lees.
Any potential pitfalls you needed to take into account?
Despite creating MPA, an exciting and alternative product, JW Lees was a staunchly traditional brewer famous for its quality beers, aimed clearly at the traditional ale drinker.
The reputation of JW Lees – and MPA – was riding on a bold piece of consumer launch activity, so it was initially very difficult to convince the Board at the brewery that people were going to go mad for Manc Dance. We backed up our plans with solid research, and they agreed to trust us.
The bigger challenge was to change the perceptions of consumers. Something really big was needed to froth things up and appeal to a younger market.
OK, and what was your grand plan to tackle this?
We created Manc Dance, an alternative performance designed to convey that ‘you can take the beer out of Manchester, but you can’t take Manchester out of the beer’ - coinciding with the first retailer listing of MPA in ASDA.
On a seemingly normal day, a troupe of Parka-clad Liam Gallagher lookalikes emerged in Covent Garden and launched into a carefully choreographed dance routine, making a humorous play on the stereotypical Manc. The dance evolved from Britpop to ballet, showing off Manchester’s fresh and alternative side.
We filmed three sets of Manc Dance and arranged a Getty photographer to capture and distribute images to key media, then put a one and a half minute edit of the dance onto YouTube, clearly showing MPA branding.
We vigorously seeded the video to key individuals – including journalists, bloggers, Manchester icons and members of the target audience with a high social media following, encouraging them to watch and share the video using #MancDance.
The guys at JW Lees were encouraged to share it internally, and to their customers, via email distribution and social channels.
Sounds good. What outcome did all this have on your client’s business?
We certainly helped drive footfall and increase sales, with:
- 450,000 pints of draught MPA sold - 46% above target in nine months
- 23,000 bottles of MPA sold – significantly above expectations
- Four national and regional wholesalers secured
- Six national and regional pub companies and brewers secured including Heineken and Carlsberg
- Overall draught volumes at JW Lees increased by 2.2% (YTD – in a declining market - pretty impressive!)
We also helped to change perceptions:
- A JW Lees internal survey revealed 89% of staff think the brewery is more dynamic
- Retailer/key influencer feedback highlighted Manc Dance put JW Lees on the map as an exciting, innovative brewery
- Consumer feedback following Manc Dance included words such as ace, risky (in a good way), daring, fun
And it made quite a stir on social media, with 18,300 views on YouTube and 564 mentions using #MancDance, plus it featured on BuzzFeed and Reddit’s popular pages.
Pete Brown from Publican’s Morning Advertiser said "…in Covent Garden, JW Lees’ MPA exudes greater Manc confidence and attitude than Boddingtons ever did, and that’s no mean feat."
Impressive. Any gems of wisdom you learned from working on this you’d like to pass on?
Manc Dance was very successful and the results prove it, but looking back, there’s one thing Tangerine would do differently. We’re ready to admit the branding in the video was a bit too prominent.
However, that being said, the impact the activity had on the business was undeniable.
"Mancdance was very successful, not just in terms of sales, it had a significant impact on the JW Lees team internally," said JW Lees marketing manager. "It proved to the business how a small investment in ‘alternative’ activity can have a big impact."