With Danish culture riding high in the popular zeitgeist, Carlsberg is hoping to leverage that popularity by reinforcing its country of origin heritage with a major overhaul of the Export offer.
The move is in response to the overall decline in the standard and premium lager market, said Carlsberg UK's category development manager Hannah Searle, and a bid to reconnect with Millennial customers who are looking for honest brands with authenticity.
"If we don't address the decline by 2020, there will be huge deficit in the category, which could be up to half a billion pounds."
Reconnecting with younger customers
To tackle this issue, the company is hoping the £15m relaunch, backed by a marketing campaign featuring the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, will reconnect with younger consumers, and is drawing on the heritage of the brand's Danish roots, while attempting to reflect cool contemporary Danish design values.
Carlsberg UK's vice-president of marketing Liam Newton said the redesign was the culmination of considerable market research work which suggested a lack of understanding of the Carlsberg brand and story among consumers.
"People thought that Carlsberg was an English beer, or they mistake the hop leaf for a clover and think it's Irish."
He added that blind tests of Export had put the beer first out of 10 leading lager brands. However, when tests were conducted with the brand names revealed, it dropped down the list.
He said this showed the problem was with brand perception, rather than any issue with the product.
Focus on origins
While the focus is on authenticity and its Danish roots, he played down questions that the fact the beer is brewed in Northampton might undermine this approach.
He said consumers were not overly interested in where the beer was made, and the focus going forward was on its origins, rather than where it was produced.
The relaunched Export brand will hit the market early in the new year, with redesigned fonts and glassware. The marketing campaign featuring Mikkelsen will follow on from March.
Newton said the company was embarking on a major project of refreshing its brands, which would take some time, and the work on Carlsberg Export was just the start. He said a global relaunch of the Carlsberg brand was also on the cards, but would not be drawn on a timescale for the relaunch.