Speight’s and DDB grin and bear it as Karl Burnett makes an uncomfortable return

Speight’s comically masculine southern man campaign idea had a long and very successful run, and its previous agency Shine attempted to bring the idea into the modern era with the ‘Knowing What Matters’ campaign. DDB took over late last year and, in one of its first major campaigns, it’s moved it even further away from ‘Good on ya mate’, with its ad for Speight’s Alchoholic Ginger Beer featuring some major self-deprecation from ex-Shortland St star Karl Burnett and a massive pun.  

Earlier this week Speight’s asked its Facebook fans who should be the mascot for its Ginger Beer. And it got a whole heap of great responses. It put the rather self-aware ad up yesterday and in it Burnett, who has augmented his existing gingeocity in very poor fashion in an effort to get the role, talks confidently on the phone about his chances. But his hopes are dashed when a very promising candidate enters the room. 

DDB chief executive Justin Mowday loves the simplicity of the campaign and says there’s plenty more where that came from (be sure to add Ginger Bear to your list of Facebook friends to follow his adventures). 

“He’s awesome. It’s so much fun.” 

As fellow pun-lovers, we’re always in favour of pun-based advertising, but it does seem like playing on the similarity between beer and bear is a piece of low-hanging fruit that must have been done before. But when asked if it has, Mowday says it’s not about who does it first, it’s about who does it best. And the first effort is pretty funny. 

After DDB won the Speight’s business late last year, things have been fairly quiet on the southern front as far as advertising goes. He says the agency has done a few one-off campaigns for individual products and while he wouldn’t discuss Speight’s wider marketing activity, it’s thought there’s a big brand campaign in the pipeline. 

While mainstream beer is in decline in New Zealand, humour still seems to work better than earnestness, as evidenced by Foster’s and Adam & Eve/DDB winning the IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix for the ‘Good Call’ campaign

Speight’s has branched out into the craft category with a range of new beers in recent years. But true southern men would probably be alarmed to see the tasting notes of the new brew

Speight’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer offers complete refreshment followed by the welcoming taste of ginger warmth and spice at the back of the mouth. Brewed with extra ginger to balance any sweetness ensures Speight’s Ginger Beer has a generous hit of ginger spice yet is refreshingly easy to drink. A great alternative when your favourite beer just won’t cut it. This is a great accompaniment to a nutty cheese like Gruyere or even a fresh Sushi dish.

Sushi? Frank Whitten would be rolling in his grave. 



Executive Creative Director – Shane Bradnick

Creative Director – Chris Schofield

Art Director – Toby Morris

Copywriter – Simone McMahon

Executive Producer – Judy Thompson

Agency Producer – Kate Moses

Production Manager – Andy Robilliard

Managing Partner – Scott Wallace

Account Director – Emma Guadagni

Head of Planning – Lucinda Sherborne 

Digital Planner – Michiel Cox

Lion Breweries:

Lion Beer Category Director – Ben Wheeler 

Speight’s Senior Brand Manager – Anna Gestro

Speight’s Brand Manager – Geoff Kidd

Thick as Thieves:

Directors – Thunderlips

Executive Producer – Nik Beachman

Audio – The Coopers

Movement Artist –  Ben Fransham

Bear Creation – Main Reactor & LGM Productions

Photography: Spid @ The Collective Force

Zenith Optimedia: 

Group Business Director – Alex Lawson

Business Manager – Andrea Burke

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