Boston Beer Unveils TV Blast in Test Markets

BOSTON — Big Chair’s first TV foray for Boston Beer’s Samuel Adams brand bows the tagline, “Mighty tasty,” and seeks to position the brew as the ultimate party beer. In one spot, “Sister,” two guys check out a girl in a bar. One says, “She’s smart. She’s beautiful. Why not?” His pal says, “Because she’s my sister, and I’ll kill you!” But after he sips some Sam Adams, he introduces his friend to his sister and leaves them to get acquainted.

In another commercial, “Tape,” a man drinks some Sam Adams and ends up showing his buddies a sexy video he made with his girlfriend. “We wanted to make Sam Adams cool to a young audience,” said C.J. Waldman, creative director of the New York boutique and production house, who directed the ads. Prior work, which focused on the beer’s quality, featured beach- and bar-party footage. The tagline was, “The world’s most award-winning beers.”

The spots, aimed at 21- to 29-year-olds, are rolling out in five test markets: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Richmond, Va. They are slated to run through first-quarter 2002. No national break date has been set.

Big Chair research showed young drinkers don’t often order Sam Adams. “It wasn’t a party beer,” said Waldman. “We wanted to bring it into the vernacular of a younger audience.” Boston Beer tapped Big Chair this summer based largely on Waldman’s reputation. A former senior creative at BBDO and Lowe Lintas & Partners, he has worked on Pepsi and Heineken. Zenith Media, New York, was also hired this summer for buying chores, following a separate review. The client spends $15-20 million annually on ads, according to CMR.