Cider is not an established Friday night beverage for Kiwis. In fact, over a third of legal age drinkers have never tried it.
However, with the mainstream beer market in decline for the last 20 years, craft beer and cider were rapidly growing in New Zealand, with cider growth coming from women in particular.
DB Breweries saw a gap in the market – why couldn’t the cider market be more inclusive of men?
There were a few barriers to overcome to make cider a winner for males, however. From a product perspective, cider has typically been marketed in New Zealand to women; a feminine choice displayed with fruits, meadows, pinks and yellows.
Coming from apples, its hue was transparent, lemonade-like, which was a real turn-off for males drinking in a group occasion, DB says.
And the taste profile of cider was also considered too sweet, brought about by competitors such as Rekorderlig, which produce a hyper-sweet version of the drink.
As DB puts it, the brand had a big job to do, overcoming a number of key problems for Old Mout Hard Cider, including its packaging, the product formulation, and bringing a masculinity to cider’s overall feminine image in the market. It needed to convince guys it was OK to drink cider.
DB Breweries spent eight months on research and development to create the perfect product formulation involving the colour, the aroma and the taste, with countless rounds of consumer research.
The result was Old Mout Hard Cider: the dry, not too sweet cider aimed directly at men.
This new cider had the objective to pull a whole new target into a category that would otherwise not normally consider cider at all.
DB then started designing packaging that would appeal to a male audience, linking back to the key ingredient, and a communications strategy that would make men consider this otherwise impermissible category.
Its core creative was around the idea of being ‘not so sweet’.
Partnering with short film Director Eric Kissack, they created a story that brought this ‘not too sweet’ thought to life, featuring a man in need of a drink, and an all-knowing voice that narrates his life in a not so sweet way.
Billboards and digital supported the TV launch, also hammering home the ‘not so sweet’ message, to reinforce both the product benefit and alignment to the overall personality of the brand that had been set up in the film.
Tying everything together was a heavyweight sampling campaign, targeting the traditional in-store occasion, but also taking the Hard Cider wheelbarrows directly to workplaces and events on hot, sunny days to surprise potential customers.
Over Christmas 2015, Hard Cider helped to bring 180,000 new consumers into the cider category.
And by May 2016, 14 percent of all consumers who bought the brand were new to the category.
DB Breweries aimed to drive up volume share of Old Mout Cider, and it did this. It also grew spontaneous awareness of Old Mout as a brand, and grew its brand personality measures for sociable, clever sense of humour, and inventive.
DB Breweries now has the ambition of doubling if not trebling the size of the cider category.