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Nail Launches Hard Cider Brand

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Nail is helping launch Savanna Dry Premium Cider, the newest entry in the domestic hard cider market.

The Providence, R.I., shop has fashioned ads for Savanna, which is marketed by Stellenbosch Farmers Winery USA in Hingham, Mass. SFW is a division of Distell's, Cape Town, South Africa, which has produced the cider since 1996.

Print ads introduce the tagline, "Different. In a good way," and are breaking in Boston-area publications such as The Boston Phoenix, The Improper Bostonian and Stuff@Night magazine.

Three 60-second radio spots with the same tag are being broadcast on stations throughout the area as well.

With the U.S. launch, Savanna will compete against better-known cider brands such as Woodchuck and Cider Jack, but is positioned to appeal to a more upscale, sophisticated audience, according to Alec Beckett, co-creative director at Nail who helped create the ads.

"They intend to market it as a sophisticated alternative," Beckett said, adding that the spots target drinkers of microbrews rather than the mass-produced, more mainstream beers. "The implication is that most people think different or risky things are bad," Beckett said.

One print ad features images such as a sheep having tea with people, a contortionist with his feet behind his head and a man with cigars protruding from his nostrils.

The radio component includes scenarios such as a foreign-speaking bar patron ordering the beverage and a female paramedic ignoring a choking victim in favor of a man drinking a Savanna.

"The 'different' premise is tongue-in-cheek positioning," Beckett said. "We expect the more upscale, educated consumer will get the joke; if it goes over the heads of [most] beer drinkers, that's fine."

The U.S. campaign follows previous ads in South Africa employing a similar message; one of those reads, "I'm not suffering from insanity. I'm enjoying it."

United Liquors, West Bridgewater, Mass., chose Boston for Savanna's U.S. debut because of cider's popularity in New England.

"It's all very Boston-centric," Beckett said. "New England is a cider-friendly environment." Distribution beyond the area will depend on its success here, he said.

In addition to South Africa, the brand is marketed in England and Germany under the name Savuti.