Speight’s online competition promises to cure shed envy for ten Kiwis—UPDATED

Earlier this year, Speight’s introduced Kiwis to Little Henry, the not-so-little Kiwi bloke who gathered his friends together to build a glorious shed featuring masculine decor, a dartboard and pull-out barbecue. This ad no doubt created envy in the hearts of many loyal Speight’s drinkers and the brand has now responded by launching an online competition that will give ten* lucky Kiwis a similarly legendary shed.

To enter the competition, Kiwis simply need to head to the competition microsite and fill in the required details. Entrants are required to enter a shed name, tell their shed story (how it would be used), choose a position for it in the garden and get mates to support cause via social media (a minimum of three shares are required).

Thus far, the competition has already attracted over 3,000 entries, and the team at DDB says that some of the efforts have already generated a few laughs around the office.

“Some of the funnier/ common names names are ‘Dog Box’ (that way getting kicked out of the house would not be so bad, and ‘The Gazebo’ (a wife had asked her husband to build her a gazebo and he thought if he named the shed this that would suffice),” says a DDB spokesperson. 

Generally, when answering the question of what purpose the shed would serve, most have answered ‘to drink beer in’. And there are also quite a few stories emerging of men wanting to escape homes in which they are outnumbered by women.

As one entrant desperately requested: “No orange, no teal, no bloody cushions or throws …” 

Previous story published on 27 February: Speight’s and DDB focus on the doing, not the saying with multi-pronged ‘We Will’ campaign 

A couple of years ago, Lion and Shine attempted to modernise the Speight’s brand and launched a campaign featuring a nice Kiwi chap swimming against a tide of rudeness in New York. At the time, some felt it was a bit too close to Steinlager territory, but the sentiment of the Southern man was there in the tagline ‘knowing what matters since 1876′. Now the brand has gone back to its heartland territory with a big new campaign via DDB that focuses on the idea of mateship.

Riffing on the fable of the Little Red Hen and featuring the end line ‘We Will’, the TVC, which was filmed in Dunedin over three days in December and launched on Sunday, tells the story of the not so little ‘Little Henry’ and his efforts to rope in his mates to help build a shed. All but one agrees to assist, and he ends up with a stern look and a bad case of FOMO. 

In keeping with Lion’s recent work for Steinlager, the traditional elements of TV and outdoor, which are still important for the launch phase, are being augmented with some more engaging, promotional elements. A shed will be present at Forsyth Barr Stadium and the next part of the campaign will involve a competition that gives away one of ten flatpack sheds. Applicants must qualify to win and get friends to help them build it. And, as part of the additional content phase that will maintain the momentum over the next few months, it will then follow the winners to various parts of the country and film them building—and enjoying—their own sheds.

DDB’s chief executive Justin Mowday says it’s another good example of a new style of marketing some brands are embracing in an effort to better connect with consumers. And it thinks it’s been leading that charge recently with the likes of Sky’s Bring Down the King, Westpac’s Giving Tree and Steinlager’s Deep Dive. He believes beer brands are among the best at engaging their consumers, not just talking at them, and while it pains him to admit it, he points to Tui Catch a Million and Tui Plumber as good examples of that evolution. 

“You can’t interrupt what people are interested in. You have to be what people are interested in,” he says. 

Head of planning Lucinda Sherborne says the last campaign was a whole new era for Speight’s. And it was a really important part of setting the brand up for the future, rather than relying on the classic image of the Southern Man. Mowday is less diplomatic and says while it did do a good job of getting to the heart of the brand, it just missed the mark with execution.

As part of the one-year process to get to this point, Sherborne went on a roadtrip in the South Island to figure what the brand stood for. The classic Southern Man posters that told men not to eat quiche are still on display. And she says the publicans are still asking for that material, so the stereotype is certainly still popular in the south. But she found the idea of the Southern Man was less about what they said, and more about what they did.

Sherborne says beer drinkers often have brands that they adore, but they often put them in little boxes, so different beers are consumed for different occasions (such as my friends who only drink warm Rheineck on their boat or, as Mowday says, perhaps slightly hopefully, when you watch the All Blacks and drink Steinlager). So it had to make the brand stand for something and create moments of truth to drive demand and frequency—and appeal more to the bigger markets in the north where there is more opportunity. As such, the campaign is focused on the holy trinity: mateship, the beer and what you’re doing around that beer.

Speight’s hasn’t run a lot of comms over the past few years, although it has been dabbling with its recent Ginger Beer campaign. Even so, Ben Wheeler, Lion’s category marketing manager, says Speight’s is still the country’s biggest trademark in terms of value and volume, although he says it’s difficult to quantify that because while Scan Data gives it retail sales, there’s limited on-premise data. And while there’s been plenty of talk about the decline of the mainstream beer category and the rise of craft, as a trademark, he says Speight’s is actually in growth on the same time last year, both in terms of its Gold Medal Ale, its craft options like triple hop and its cider (he says it’s the only big mainstream beer brand in growth). 

As evidenced by the success of DB’s Export Citrus range, there is more demand for lower alcohol beers. But, as Wheeler says, they’re not prepared to compromise on taste. So it’s embraced that trend with its mid-ale, which launched on premise before Christmas but is now available in pack.

He says a lot of people asked if this was in response to the changes to drink driving rules, but that was coincidental as it had been working on development for a long time. It also offers Steinlager premium light and since the driving rules have changed, he says it’s been in double digit growth, even though they haven’t done much with it.

He says it learned a lot from the complex Steinlager campaign and it discovered a few areas where it could get some more mileage with its marketing. As an example, he says the Deep Dive ad was watched by 65,000 people on Facebook in the first three days—and they watched the whole way through.

“If you want to connect, it takes more than a TV ad and some billboards.”

And so far the move back into heartland territory for the Speight’s brand seems to have been received well across the board, with plenty of love for it internally and on Facebook. 

“There’s nothing scarier than showing a new ad to the Dunedin sales team. But they all loved it and thought it felt and sounded like a Speight’s ad.”

The campaign will also be running through point of sale and on premise. And Mowday says there’s also the potential for some content marketing and PR activity around the sheds, like there was with Deep Dive.  

Mowday believes ‘We Will’ is much bigger than the sheds and it’s confident it can incorporate the idea into more of the brand’s activity in the future. 

*Correction: this story previously incorrectly stated that Speight’s will only be giving away one shed. The company will in fact be giving away ten sheds.

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