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Communicating heritage without sacrificing a contemporary feel: Monteith's campaign shows how it's made for the past, present and future

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Monteith's has released ‘Brewed for Right Now’, a campaign by Colenso BBDO watching how its brews have ingrained themselves in Kiwis lives. We speak to DB marketing director Sean O'Donnell and Colenso executive creative director Dan Wright about how the campaign showcases the brand's heritage while moving it into the future.

By Erin McKenzie | May 24, 2018 | news

To demonstrate how the brand fits into Kiwi life, the campaign is executed in fly on the wall style, watching moments different groups of Kiwis come together to enjoy a Monteith’s beer.

Those groups include The Litas, a network of female motorbike enthusiasts enjoying a drink after a ride and The Spearos, a group of spearfishing fans pairing a Montheith’s with their catch. There’s also Auckland band Sal Valentine is seen enjoying a drop during a gig.

And giving the campaign a point of difference in the TV, digital and out of home spaces, each of the videos is black and white, filmed on a combination of 16mm film, VHS and a mix of digital cameras. The style-move is a nod to Monteiths’ heritage.

Talking to Colenso executive creative director Dan Wright about the campaign, he says it’s created to show there is a Monteith’s for all occasions.

“Whether it’s after a fishing trip, a ride or a gig, one of Monteith’s 21 brews will be right for the occasion.”

And as the campaign progresses, there will be more moments to show matched with brews.

Beyond the campaign, Monteith’s 21 brews reflect the brand’s pioneering nature as it’s spent the last 150 years experimenting with and innovating its range.

That heritage was showcased in Monteith’s first big brand campaign ‘Follow No One’ released in 2015. Not only was it the first big brand campaign, it was the brand’s first big TV initiative and in it, Monteith’s exploring the West Coast where it all began.

This time, Colenso saw an opportunity to continue to bring that heritage to life while also showing the brand in a contemporary light by acknowledging how its brews have kept up to date with Kiwis’ tastes.

It also shows off the brand’s new look after the bottles got a refresh last year. They now feature the miner’s spade from Monteith’s logo embossed in the neck - a nod to the brewery’s West Coast home in Greymouth.

Having worked with Monteith’s since 2011, Colenso has a deep understanding of the brand but Wright admits it’s a big brief to summarise 150 years in a campaign.

“It is a challenge, you are up against communicating heritage without sacrificing being contemporary.”

From a marketers perspective, DB marketing director Sean O’Donnell agrees, saying it’s 150 anniversary is a great achievement considering New Zealand isn’t yet 200 years old but it’s aware it has to stay fresh if it wants to continue.

“It’s a celebration but it can also be a burden. You can have an amazing history but you are constantly at the risk of losing relevance.”

Helping it maintain its relevance has been the craft beer movement over the last few years, and within that  O’Donnell explains Monteith’s sees its 21 brews having a role to play in helping people develop a taste for craft beer.

According to ANZ’s Craft Beer Industry Insights report 2017, drinks with 4.4 to five percent alcohol are typical gateway craft styles and 10 out of Monteith’s 21 beers and ciders fit into that range.

In March, NZ Herald reported the craft beer rise, with the New Zealand Craft Beer Industry showing total sales of craft beers were up by 35 percent over the past year, and it’s estimated craft beers now account for 15 percent of domestic sales and consumption.

And while craft beer is on the rise, in contrast, traditional mid-strength and lower strength beer volumes fell in 2017 and overall the total volume of beer available fell 1.2 percent according to Statistics New Zealand.

O’Donnell says with craft beers making up 15 percent of all beer sales in New Zealand, it’s exciting to see consumers trialling and looking for different styles.

Included in the rise of craft beer has been the rise of women hopping on the hops and O’Donnell says they’re one of the biggest areas of growth for the industry. However, he adds for too long beer brands have forgotten about women and the inclusion of The Litas in this campaign shows Monteith’s wants to appeal to everyone who likes a beer.

On top of that, O’Donnell says The Litas, The Spearos and Sal Valentine reflect the values of Monteith’s as they are passionate about what they do and are in some ways also pioneers.

“I think for me what these group showcase is that they share the values of Monteith’s – they are authentic, real people who are passionate about what they do.”

When looking for the groups to feature in the campaign, Wright says it didn’t have to look far as “there are Kiwis everywhere doing amazing things and these are three”.

But while the campaign is tied to Monteith's Kiwi roots, through those featured, O’Donnell says it's important the idea speaks to everyone no matter where they are drinking a Monteith’s brew, such as China, Korea or Europe which feature in its exported list.

“No matter where we would show this, the work still cuts through and tells the Monteith’s story.”

And it will continue to do so for some time. While the campaign’s launch marks Monteith’s 150 anniversary, O’Donnell says it sees a really ‘long future with it; and there are more moments to come.

“We talk about 'Brewed for Right Now', so whether it’s this year, next year, 10 years from now, we are still talking about that moment and the beers we have for that. It’s a platform that can live and live.”

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