VitroRobertson Creates Newcastle’s Fall Push

LOS ANGELES MDC Partners’ VitroRobertson has developed a select-city, autumn ad campaign and sweepstakes for Newcastle Brown Ale, a company representative said last week.

Boosting its budget from $1 million in 2003 (per Nielsen Monitor-Plus) to $6 million this year, Newcastle’s adspend includes outdoor, cable television and rock radio placements, as well as in-store and bar promotional events in Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, San Diego and Sacramento, Calif., Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, N.C., and Denver. The campaign is scheduled to run from Labor Day through Thanksgiving.

VitroRobertson’s ads target “a very active consumer, a high-energy, 21 to 34 male, not hung up on carbs and calories,” said Bill Wetmore, Scottish & Newcastle Importers’ Cleveland-based marketing director. VitroRobertson, San Diego, has held the Newcastle Brown Ale account since 2002.

Billboard, transit and taxi-top components will stick with “The cap says it all” theme, introduced in Newcastle’s spring campaign. “It’s an image of a big beer bottle cap with a simple, iconic branding message on the flip side,” said Patrick Brauer, the shop’s lead exec on the account. New messages include “For a bitter taste, drink with ex-girlfriends” and “Not heavy, never bitter: Can you date a beer?” he said.

Two 60-second radio spots contrast the ale’s characteristics to wearing cement shoes and lugging furniture. A wider re-release of three tongue-in-cheek 30-second spots and three 10-second TV drop-ins, originally broadcast in March and April, will appear on regional and local sports cable TV.

Simultaneously, Newcastle’s “Best of Both Worlds” sweepstakes will be promoted in stores and bars, via AOR, alternative and classic-rock radio partners as well as “four or five Internet sites,” said Wetmore.

Newcastle, which according to retail-tracking service Information Resources ranked 13th among imported beers in 2003, “has a unique position in the market,” Wetmore said. “It’s smooth and carbonated, offering a lot of traditional lager attitude while also delivering the character and flavor of a darker beer—the best of both worlds.”

Sweepstakes winners will be treated to similarly duplicitous rewards; the grand prize consists of a rowdy Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, paired with a romantic British Virgin Islands’ Valentine’s getaway.