Real ale set for publicity drive

Related tags Real ale Brand Public relations Marketing Brewers

The Campaign for Real Ale is to mount its biggest-ever publicity drive with generic advertising for cask beer.Support for the move will come from...

The Campaign for Real Ale is to mount its biggest-ever publicity drive with generic advertising for cask beer.

Support for the move will come from brewers and real ale quality standard Cask Marque.

Details were being kept confidential, but spokesman Iain Loe said: "It's no secret that we are looking to launch a generic campaign for real ale."

He added: "It's no secret that we have been putting together a fighting fund for this purpose for some time, and it's no secret that brewers have been working with us on this and are working on campaigns of their own."

CAMRA is believed to have amassed £55,000 for the project, which will pay for poster sites at railway stations and bus stops.

There will also be a mobile billboard, a web page and a helpline.

Although the size of the campaign is a drop in the ocean compared to the millions spent on brand advertising, it is hoped that it will act as a catalyst for a sea-change in public perception of real ales and nitro-keg products such as Bass' Caffrey's.

The move will stress the quality differences between real ale and nitro-keg products, which will be portrayed in a detrimental manner in the posters.

Brewers are working on plans to include campaign slogans on pumpclips, beermats, pub posters and other point-of-sale material.

Announcing the project to conference delegates at CAMRA's annual meeting last week in Derby, head of campaigns Mike Benner said: "This is the big one — a campaign which can make a real difference.

"The aim of this is to increase sales of real ale and to knock nitro-keg off the top spot."

He said he wanted to reverse the decline in real ale sales, which have dropped from 17 to 11 per cent of total beer sales.

Benner added that customers were confused as to what was and was not real ale.

"Brewers have manipulated the message," he said.

The promotion would seek to clarify consumers' minds.

The target audience will be 25 to 35-year-old males — the same people targeted by brewers of nitro-keg beer.

"Other groups, especially women, will not be alienated," Benner added.

He did not reveal which family brewers had offered their support, but he said that they had come round to the view that brand advertising was no longer enough in the battle against falling sales.

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