For over 40 years, they’ve been telling us theirs is “probably the best lager in the world” so customers certainly took notice when Carlsberg promoted a series of Tweets likening the taste of their larger to “stale breadsticks” and “naan bread”.
Not exactly the taste you’d expect from the world’s best.
At first, some Twitter users thought Carlsberg’s account had been hacked but Carlsberg were quick to confirm this wasn’t the case, hinting to confused followers something new was on the horizon. It turns out, they were taking a leaf out of KFC’s book. In 2018, the fast-food chain promoted a series of Tweets criticising its fries before unveiling a new recipe.
And this week, that’s exactly what Carlsberg revealed. Admitting they “probably” weren’t the best in the world, they promised to correct things with the launch of their new Danish Pilsner. Carlsberg are now promoting a Tweet that reads “Probably not…” along with #newbrew.
It’s “probably not…” the best marketing campaign in the world – KFC’s attempt back-fired when customers said they hated the new fries – but there are some interesting things you can learn from Carlsberg’s recent marketing efforts.
It’s one thing for you to say your brand / business / product is good; it’s another for other people to say it for you. Carlsberg have been reinforcing their “probably the best lager in the world” messaging for years. As soon as consumers stated saying something different though, it was time to act.
This campaign shows a couple of things: that Carlsberg listen to their customers, and that they really are committed to producing “probably the best” product they can. Customers were vocal and felt that Carlsberg WASN’T the best lager in the world, so they listened and acted.
Everyone makes mistakes, even the biggest brands in the world. What Carlsberg could have done, is release a new brew without the fanfare – especially as doing so shows they don’t really make the best larger around. Instead, they made quite the song and dance about the new recipe.
While the campaign is quite on brand for Carlsberg, it does also help to humanise the company. It opened up conversations with their customers and showed they’re not afraid to poke fun at themselves. Does your marketing help to make your brand all the more human?
Over time, your customers can become desensitised to your marketing messages if they don’t change. Carlsberg has been running the “probably the best…” campaign for many years. Over time, it’s likely the impact will have lessened.
By turning this message on its head and trying something new, Carlsberg have ensured that they’re the brand on everyone’s lips. They built a buzz around the launch of their new brew - before it had even hit the shelves – and got customer’s talking. While the idea for the campaign was reminding of KFC’s last year, trying something different paid off for them…for now.