Think You Won’t Like Newcastle Brown Ale? Newcastle Thinks You’re an Idiot

Building a wise-cracking campaign around a negative

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If you've never had the pleasure of drinking a Newcastle Brown Ale you might well think it's a heavy, bitter beer. You would also be dead wrong, Newcastle says—and the brand isn't afraid to call you on your bollocks opinion.

The beer maker's latest 30-second spot, created by Droga5 N.Y., debuted Monday and relies on that sharp, sarcastic Newcastle voice that fans have grown to love and expect. This time around Newcastle confronts anyone who thinks the beer is too heavy and not drinkable. People with this misconception are, in Newcastle's humble opinion, "ignorant a**clowns."

"We've done a good job of building equity and keeping people laughing by making fun of the craziness that happens around holidays and in the advertising industry," Priscilla Flores Dohnert, brand director for Newcastle Brown Ale, told Adweek. "Now we wanted to make a shift and speak about the beer, but in a fun Newcastle voice."  

The strategy—calling anyone who thinks your beer is bitter an imbecile—may seem strange and off-putting, but it fits within that Newcastle voice. Plus, said Flores Dohnert, the brand needed to find a way to grab people's attention and crush a huge misconception.

Market research revealed that many people were afraid to drink Newcastle, Flores Dohnert said, because its dark color makes it appear heavy and bitter.

"It's our biggest trial," she said. "Even though we are talking about something that people could see as negative, it's not, so let's have fun with it."

With one of America's biggest beer-drinking holidays fast approaching, Flores Dohnert said Newcastle wanted to make sure shoppers are thinking about it when they make their Fourth of July shopping trips. But the beer won't be spending huge sum to spread the message nationally. The campaign will mostly be aimed at regional markets in New York, California and Minneapolis, where Newcastle consumption is highest, and social media.  

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.