Pro-beer campaign gives wine a dose of print-based grief—UPDATED

Whenever a slightly controversial/deliberately antagonistic campaign is released, many would argue that the campaign gets a tick when those who are bound to be outraged by it come out and show their outrage. Almost without fail, St Matthew in the City’s ‘progressive’ billboards roil the religious types. And DB Export Dry’s ‘Great Wine Depression’ TV ad, a light-hearted parody of the beginnings of New Zealand wine snobbery that was made by Colenso BBDO and The Sweet Shop, also appeared to have its desired effect when a couple of wine lovers took the wine-bashing to heart. Well, now they’ve got a few new print ads to get up in arms about as well. 




To ensure “fewer Kiwi males suffer from wine”, the magazine and press campaign highlights the awkward discomfort wine continues to inflict on men, including an instructional ad that coaches men through what to do when handed the dreaded wine list.

Ken Sheldrick, the 79-year old cellarmaster for the Wine and Food Society of Auckland, told the Herald the ads were nonsense and said “the macho, age-old phrase that real men drink beer was juvenile”. Ironically, while commenting on it, he said “it’s so childish it doesn’t even bear commenting on because everyone knows people have been drinking wine since Roman times”.

“New Zealand has become much more sophisticated and for adverts like that to appear just puts us back in the dark ages.”

Despite a few aggrieved commentators decrying the continued use of foolish men in advertising, the tongue-in-cheek ‘attack’ campaign appears to be doing as intended and selling more of the beer (Russell Browne, marketing manager for DB Export and emerging brands, said it sold out of the newly redesigned DB Export boxes soon after the campaign launched).

“DB Export Dry holds a special place in Kiwi consumers’ hearts but over the years we have all been negligent in forgetting Morton Coutts’ masterful brew,” says Browne. “The best campaigns aren’t only the ones that happen to be funny. This campaign resonates with our consumer target perfectly due to the humour being based on their actual experiences.”

UPDATE: DB Export’s brand manager Honor Dillon said it’s still in the very early stages of the Export Dry re-launch and some of the data is yet to come through. But sales to date have been very positive, with an increase in value share and rate of sale on both packs in all accounts throughout New Zealand, some flattering third party acknowledgements of the TV ad (“This is easily the best ad created by NZ in a long time” from Radio Hauraki and “This is a beer ad worthy of Super Bowl airtime” from Ad Week; and a good amount of PR awareness around the campaign due to the uproar from wine lovers.

A more comprehensive evaluation of the re-launch will be available next month once more data has come through.


Creative Chairman Nick Worthington

Creative Director Levi Slavin

Art Director James Tucker

Copywriter Simon Vicars

Senior Account Director Tim Ellis

Senior Account Manager Stefanie Robertson

Account Manager Patrick Rowley

Planning Director James Hurman

Planner Hayley Pardoe

Agency Producer Jen Storey

Photographer Alistair Guthrie (Snapper Ltd)

Photographer’s Producer Sarah Hough

Designer Kate Slavin

Retoucher Tias Somers


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