Amstel Light Adopts Playful Personality

NEW YORK Amstel Light will debut three spots on Monday that focus on the ingenuity of its consumers. The ads, from Publicis in New York, introduce the theme, “Who says a light beer can’t taste great?”

One commercial, “Indoor Golf,” shows office workers disrupting colleagues as they play golf inside. When an errant golf ball shatters a window, it becomes apparent it is snowing outside. “Who says you can’t play golf in a blizzard?” a voiceover asks as the employees drink Amstel Light.

“Hockey” shows an obese player guarding a goal as the crowd drinks Amstel Light and cheers him on. “Who says a pro athlete can’t be out of shape?” the voiceover says. The third spot, “Delivery,” depicts several deliverymen racing toward an apartment as the voiceover states, “Who says delivery can’t be a competitive sport?” Men in the apartment cheer when Chinese food is delivered first. All spots share the line, “Who says a light beer can’t taste great?” and retain the tag, “The beer drinker’s light beer.”

The spots, directed by Traktor, mark a shift from attribute-centric past ads—one of which showed a bartender rinsing a glass with a generic light beer as though it were water—to creating a playful personality for the brand, according to Willem van der Hoeven, Amstel Light brand director.

“We’ve been running the previous campaign almost five years in a row,” van der Hoeven said. “[Amstel Light] is getting to be a more mature brand in some of our markets, and it’s time to move from awareness and product credentials to personality, to help the brand grow.”

The ads, which will run in 30- and 15-second versions, also emphasize taste rather than low carbohydrates, which has been the recent focus of competing light beer ads. “We think there’s a significant amount of consumers out there who still follow their taste. If you have a beer that’s zero calories and zero carbs, it’s water,” van der Hoeven said. “If you drink Michelob Ultra [which focuses on low carbs in current ads] or an Amstel Light, the difference is two small pretzels of carbs. We think it’s not worth suffering for the taste.”

Howard Willmott and Duncan Marshall served as executive creative directors on the campaign. Eric Quennoy was senior copywriter and Jason Levine was art director.

Spending on the effort, which also includes print and radio ads, was undisclosed. Amstel Light, a White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken brand, spent about $20 million in measured media in 2002 and nearly $30 million in the first 11 months of 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.