CAMPAIGNS: Boston invites all to beer party - Product Launch

Client: Whitbread Beer Company

Client: Whitbread Beer Company

PR Team: Communique Public Relations

Campaign: Launch of Boston Beer

Timescale: January through to December 1997

Cost: Undisclosed

With the UK’s mind on the general election and the effect of the outcome

on the wallet, Whitbread’s intentions were primed solely to distract us

from politician fatigue with a taste of America. Brewing Boston Beer

under licence in the UK from The Boston Beer Company, part of the Samuel

Adams Brewery, Whitbread set its sights on growing the hybrid beer



To hit the lucrative 18 to 30 male ABC1 ’repertoire’ drinkers and create

demand through the on and off trade sectors. Whitbread was keen to

ensure that its hybrid was positioned well away from the Irish ’me toos’



Beer tends to be reliant on above-the-line campaigns. With the

advertising campaign not starting until 4 July, Communique’s PR tactics

involved using a variety of media - including regional press, national

men’s lifestyle magazines and radio - to hook into key American dates

and events to push home the American connection in promoting brand


The trade launch kicked off on 31 March with the State of Independence

Survey to gauge attitudes on contemporary culture in the UK and the


The survey revealed that seven out of ten British men feel culturally

closer to the USA than Europe.

Communique PR set up ten radio competitions with Boston Beer prizes to

run in tandem with Boston USA’s own celebration on 21 April - Patriot’s

Day. Cinema-goers, seen as a key Boston Beer audience, were also

targeted through Flicks magazine, with a competition running around

Patriot’s Day.

The biggest challenge was to reach ABC males. To this end a full page

Boston beer feature went into Sky magazine’s tenth birthday issue and a

half-page promotion was placed in FHM’s July ’World’s Top 100 Sexiest

Women’ issue. Communique PR also arranged 4th of July parties for eight

outlets across the UK to run Boston Beer Independence Day parties.

Having addressed the men’s magazines, the PR people switched their

attention to men’s fashion by arranging for Boston Beer to be the sole

tipple at FHM’s readers evening at the June launch of USC clothing store

in Manchester - there is a similar arrangement lined up with UK fashion

retailer Flannels for its Manchester fashion show this October.


It is too early to gauge the full impact, bearing in mind the newness of

the campaign and the long lead times of the magazines. However, so far

coverage has included the Mirror and Independent for the State of

Independence survey, five regional newspapers and BBC Radio. The Mirror

also picked up on the ad launch and, according to Communique, the radio

competitions have amassed a reach of more than five million listeners



Within four months of launch, the product is being stocked by the top

five supermarkets as well as off licence chains such as Thresher and

Victoria Wine. However the results of the advertising campaign, which is

so vital to the trade and the pub market, has yet to kick in. When it

does, Ryan Lauder of Communique PR is optimistic that Boston Beer will

go from strength to strength.

Whitbread’s PR manager Mandy Macleod is also very happy so far and says

that ’signs are encouraging’. But it will take all the ingenuity of the

PR company to find more American landmark dates to tie into Boston


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